May 12, 2019 / 3:01 AM / 2 months ago

Mexico arrests owner of school devastated by 2017 earthquake

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican police have arrested on manslaughter charges the owner of a Mexico City school that collapsed during a devastating 2017 earthquake, killing 19 children and seven adults, authorities said on Saturday.

Ernestina Godoy, the attorney general of Mexico City, said officers had apprehended Monica Garcia, owner of the Enrique Rebsamen school, in a restaurant in the capital 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 over several months.

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

Authorities had issued a reward of 5 million pesos ($262,000) for information leading to Garcia’s capture.

Garcia could not immediately be reached for comment.

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

($1 = 19.0954 Mexican pesos)

Reporting by Dave Graham; editing by Grant McCool

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