“In a tragic incident at a New York City day care, two individuals have been indicted, while a third is being sought by the authorities in connection with the deadly fentanyl exposure,” reports confirm.
The distressing incident unfolded on a Friday afternoon at the Divino Nino Daycare in the Bronx when first responders were called to the scene following reports of a child in cardiac arrest. Inside the home-based day care, law enforcement discovered drug production equipment and a kilogram of fentanyl, a substance suspected to have led to the unfortunate demise of 1-year-old Nicholas Dominici and the hospitalization of three other young children.
Carlisto Acevedo Brito, aged 41, and Grei Mendez, aged 36, have been slapped with a total of 11 charges, including murder, manslaughter, and assault. Meanwhile, authorities are actively seeking Mendez’s husband for questioning in connection with the case.
Official statements reveal that Brito, a tenant renting a room from Mendez, is, in fact, a cousin of Mendez’s husband. Prosecutors assert that the kilogram of fentanyl was discovered in a hallway closet outside Acevedo Brito’s room, and they argue that Mendez played a role in this “reckless, depraved act” by renting out the room within the day care premises.
Mendez’s attorney has asserted her innocence, claiming that she had no knowledge of drugs being stored within her day care by her husband’s cousin, to whom she was renting a room for $200 a week. Attorney Andres Aranda emphasized, “Her only crime was renting her room to someone who had a kilo. There is no evidence that she did anything but care properly for these children.”
The unfortunate sequence of events began when the children had a meal around 1 p.m. on that fateful Friday and subsequently took a nap. At 2:30 p.m., when the caregivers attempted to wake them, three of the children were found unconscious. Tragically, Dominici was pronounced dead at Montefiore Hospital.
A 2-year-old boy remains in critical condition, while an 8-month-old girl and another 2-year-old boy were also rushed to the hospital for medical attention. Investigators suspect that the children had been exposed to opioids over an extended period.
Notably, the 2-year-old boy had actually returned home at around 12:15 p.m. on Friday and was later discovered by his mother to be “acting lethargic and unresponsive.” His mother acted swiftly, rushing him to the hospital, where the opioid-reversal medication Narcan played a crucial role in saving his life.
The medical examiner is slated to conduct an autopsy to determine the precise cause of Dominici’s tragic passing.
Otoniel Feliz, Dominici’s father, shared his deep grief, saying, “I love him, I miss him, I want him back – but there’s nothing that will give me back my son.” He recalled the joy of his son’s greetings when he returned home from work, underscoring the heartbreak of losing his child in a place he had believed to be safe.
The day care, which caters to children aged between 6 weeks and 12 years, had recently opened its doors in January and had successfully passed a surprise inspection by city officials just the week prior, with no violations reported. Following the evacuation of the children from the facility, the fire department conducted tests to rule out environmental hazards, finding no evidence of carbon monoxide. It was during this investigation that suspicions of opioid exposure arose, leading to the execution of a search warrant to scour the premises, uncovering a drug packaging device and other related items.