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Third director alleged responsible for school collapse that killed 26, arrested

Mexico City, Mexico — The man allegedly responsible for approving the illegal construction of an apartment complex above a school has been arrested after nearly a year on the run.

State officials in Mexico City say that Juan Mario Velarde Gámez, the director responsible for the work of the Rébsamen School, was arrested by police in the state of Querétaro.

The attorney general’s office confirmed that Velarde Gámez was arrested after 19 children and seven adults were killed in a building collapse during the September 2017 earthquakes in Mexico City. The collapse occurred at the Enrique Rébsamen School in Tlalpan.

They say that Velarde Gámez was arrested after a warrant was issued last year. He has been apprehended and sent to the South Male Preventative Prison, where he will remain until his trial.

In November 2017, Judge Joel Garduño Venegas had two other directors arrested and imprisoned for similar charges. Juan Apolinar Torales and Juan Mario Velarde Gámez, who are accused of helping the owner Mónica García Villegas, are accused of illegally building an apartment on the top of the school.

As a result of the illegal building, 19 students, 13 of whom were minors, and seven adults died after the apartment caused the school to collapse.