The owner of a Bronx home-based daycare and a man renting a room from her have been charged with the death of a 1-year-old boy of suspected opioid exposure.
Three other children — an 8-month-old girl and 2 2-year-old boys — were hospitalized after first responders used Narcan to save their lives, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
The medics were unable to revive toddler Nicholas Dominici, however, and one of the surviving boys was in critical condition on Sunday, WABC reported.
Grei Mendez, the 36-year-old owner of Divino Nino daycare, and Carlisto Acevedo Brito, 41, were charged with 11 counts, including murder, manslaughter, and assault.
Police said Brito is the cousin of Mendez’s husband.
Police responded to the converted apartment Saturday afternoon and first suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, But when fire officials found the air clear of that chemical, they began to suspect drugs and obtained a search warrant for the property. The search turned up a kilo press, “an item that is commonly used by drug dealers when packaging large quantities of drugs,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said.
Police don’t yet know what type of drugs were being handled on the property and said the US Drug Enforcement Agency has joined the investigation.
Meanwhile, Nicholas’s parents are struggling to understand. The boy’s father, Otoniel Feliz, said his son had only been going to Divino Nino for a week, and on the day he died, the boy’s mother was on her way to pick him up early.
“I love him, I miss him, I want him back,” he said, “but there’s nothing that will give me back my son.”
The medical examiner is conducting an autopsy, police said, and investigators will also take blood samples from the surviving children to determine what exactly happened.
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[Featured image: Nicholas Dominici/handout]