Mexico City arrests the owner of the Rébsamen school where 21 children died

Authorities had issued a reward of MXN $5 million in exchange for information leading to her capture

Mexico City arrests the owner of the Rébsamen school where 21 children died
Mónica García was on the run for 19 months - Photo: Marco Ugarte/AP
English 13/05/2019 14:14 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City Reuters Actualizada 14:32

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Mexican police have arrested the owner of a Mexico City school that collapsed during a devastating 2017 earthquake on manslaughter charges after 21 children and seven adults died during the earthquake, authorities said on Saturday.

Ernestina Godoy, the Attorney General of Mexico City, said officers had apprehended Mónica García Villegas, owner of the Enrique Rébsamen school, in a restaurant in Mexico City on Saturday morning after an anonymous tip-off.

“We arrested her,” Godoy told a news conference. “The crime is manslaughter,” she said, noting that police searched dozens of houses for several months.
 

Authorities had issued a reward of MXN $5 million in exchange for information leading to Garcia’s capture.

Experts and witnesses told Reuters, shortly after the earthquake, that the school in Mexico City buckled under the weight of floors added over the years with scant steel support.

The 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck central Mexico on September 19, 2017, killed 355 people in the capital and the surrounding states. The school tragedy became one of the most powerful symbols of the earthquake’s human cost.

Agents with knowledge of the investigation say that the reward prompted over 50 calls to expose the woman, her location, and activities.

Mónica García is currently held at the Santa Martha Acatitla prison.
 

During her audience, Mónica García was in tears and said: “everything was an accident” and blamed natural disasters.

While the audience took place, family members of the children who died at the Rébsamen school were protesting outside the venue and were waiting for Mónica García to exit the building to question her about being on the run for 19 months.

One of the parents said, “We always supported her, in the beginning, we even defended her and then she escaped, she never faced us, she is a murderer.”

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