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1-year-old dies and 3 are hospitalized for suspected opioid exposure at Bronx daycare

1-year-old dies and 3 are hospitalized for suspected opioid exposure at Bronx daycare

KINGSBRIDGE, The Bronx (WABC) — Otoniel Feliz had been sending his one-year-old son, Nicholas Dominici, to a daycare in the Bronx for just a week before the boy was found dead there.

First responders were called Friday afternoon to Divino Nino Day Care at 2707 Morris Ave. in Kingsbridge for reports of cardiac arrest.

Drug production equipment found inside the home daycare is suspected to be the cause of Dominici’s death and the hospitalization of the other three young children.

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Carlisto Acevedo Brito, 41, and Grei Méndez, 36, received 11 charges including murder, manslaughter and assault. It is unclear when his arraignment will take place, because Mendez was taken to the hospital. Police are also searching for Mendez’s husband.

Authorities say Brito is a tenant who rented a room to Mendez. Brito is a cousin of Méndez’s husband, authorities said.

“She had no idea what was in that closet; she called the police. Would you call the police if you knew there was fentanyl in your apartment?” said Méndez’s lawyer, Andrés Aranda.

Law enforcement officials described the daycare as operating inside a converted apartment. A kilo of press was discovered by police executing a search warrant inside the business.

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“This is an item that drug traffickers commonly use when packaging large quantities of drugs,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said during an evening news conference.

It is unknown what type of drugs were potentially being manufactured or how the children came into contact with them.

“We don’t know exactly what happened to those babies,” said NYPD Police Commissioner Edward Caban. The DEA has joined the investigation into his death.

Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said the victims somehow came into contact “with a powerful substance that can, either by inhalation, ingestion or contact with the skin, poison the recipient. We do not know what happened in this case. “

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Authorities say the children, who stayed at daycare, ate something around 1 p.m. Friday and took a nap. When workers went to wake them up at 2:30 pm, three were unconscious. Dominici was pronounced dead at Montefiore.

A two-year-old boy is in critical condition. An eight-month-old girl and another two-year-old boy were also rushed to hospital.

Investigators believe the children had been exposed to unknown opioids for an extended period. Her mother later discovered that a two-year-old boy who returned home around 12:15 was “acting lethargic and unresponsive.”

The mother rushed him to the hospital, where the opioid-reversal drug Narcan saved his life.

The medical examiner will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of Dominici’s death, and doctors will take urine and blood from the surviving children to try to determine what drugs they were exposed to.

“I love him, I miss him, I want him back, but there is nothing that will bring my son back to me. When he came home from work and walked in the door, he would say ‘dad, dad!'” Otoniel said. Happy.

Teary-eyed and heavy-hearted, Feliz is mourning and processing how she lost her son in a place she assumed was safe.

“My wife was on her way to the daycare. She was going to pick him up early. Shortly before arriving she received the call and also saw the ambulance,” Feliz added.

The daycare, for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years, recently opened in January and just passed a surprise visit by city inspectors last week with no violations found.

After the children were taken from daycare, the fire department tested the air for environmental hazards and found no evidence of carbon monoxide. Officials then began to suspect opioid exposure and executed a search warrant to search the rooms, cabinets and other spaces where the drug packaging device was found.

A grand jury is scheduled to be convened Thursday. The second defendant, the tenant, was awaiting arraignment Sunday night.

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