Fugitive wanted in 1996 ValuJet crash has Atlanta ties

The FBI has announced a $10,000 reward for an airline mechanic with Atlanta ties alleged to have played a role in the 1996 crash of a ValuJet plane in the Florida Everglades.

Mauro Ociel Valenzuela-Reyes, who worked for the airline’s maintenance contractor, SabreTech, faces federal criminal charges after crash investigators determined he mishandled oxygen generators that were placed in the DC-9’s cargo hold. The generators, missing their required safety caps, ignited in the cargo area, leading to the crash that killed 110 passengers and crew members.

Valenzuela-Reyes, whose ex-wife and children lived in Atlanta at one time, fled before trial. A new wanted poster shows a photo of the suspect from 1996 and how he might look today.

If captured, Valenzuela-Reyes would face charges related to the crash and additional federal charges, issued in 2000, for fleeing and failing to appear at his trial.

“We want closure,” said FBI Miami Special Agent Jacqueline Fruge, who has been on the case since the beginning.

Come back for more details on the search later today on myajc.com.