2 People Arrested at Bronx Day Care After 1-Year-Old Dies, 3 Other Children Hospitalized Due to Opioid Exposure

Divino Nino Daycare, a Bronx day care that has only been in business for eight months, is under heavy scrutiny after one child was killed and three others were hospitalized on Friday (September 15). While the investigation is ongoing, police officers have reason to believe the children were exposed to opioids. 

New York City police officers were summoned to the Bronx day care – which operates out of a converted apartment at 2707 Morris Ave. in Kingsbridge – at around 2:30 p.m. on Friday due to reports of cardiac arrest. Upon arrival, they found three unresponsive and unconscious children – all under the age of 3. 

The three children were administered Narcan (an opioid antagonist) before being rushed to the nearby Montefiore Medical Center, where two of the children – a 2-year-old boy and an 8-month-old girl – survived. Unfortunately, a 1-year-old boy (identified as Nicholas Dominici) was pronounced dead. 

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There was a fourth child – a 2-year-old boy – who was admitted to a hospital earlier in the day. He was picked up from the Bronx day care by his mother at around 12:15 p.m., but she found him to be ‘acting lethargic and unresponsive.’ He was administered Narcan at the hospital, which ultimately saved his life.

NYC police officers have already arrested two people as a result of the investigation – Grei Mendez, 36, and Carlisto Acevedo Brito, 41. They were arrested on Saturday (September 16) and are facing 11 charges – including murder, two counts of manslaughter, and assault. They appeared in court on Sunday.

According to the report, Mendez is the owner of the Bronx daycare and Brito (a cousin of Mendez’s husband) is a tenant who was renting a room from Mendez. While executing a search warrant of the daycare, police officers found a kilo press – an item commonly used to package dangerous drugs.

Several days later, authorities found a trap floor containing drugs, including fentanyl inside the daycare. Specifically, according to CNN, the trap floor was located under a play area in the center.

Police are unsure what types of drugs were being manufactured inside the building (if any) or how the children came into contact with opioids, but the investigation is ongoing. An autopsy of the deceased child, while blood and urine samples of the children who survived will help investigators learn more. 

Bronx Day Care Passed a Surprise Inspection One Week Ago

According to Dr. Ashwin Vasan – the commissioner of the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene – the Bronx day care (Divino Nino Daycare) face a surprise inspection by members of the department just one week prior to the incident. At the time, no violations were found or reported. 

“This is a new site that was opened in January of just this year, and had its routine inspections: two, in the beginning in order to get its license, and one surprise visit – that was the September 9 site – and no violations were found,” Vasan said. They’re unsure what could’ve caused the deaths and hospitalizations. 

In an interview with a local news channel, Otoniel Feliz – the father of the deceased 1-year-old boy, Nicholas Dominici – said he had only been taking his son to the Bronx day care for one week before turning up dead. He’s still processing the death, which happened at a place that was supposed to be safe. 

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“I love him, I miss him, I want him back – but there’s nothing that will give me back my son – when I came home from work and walked through the door, he’d say ‘daddy, daddy!'” Feliz said of his son – adding that his wife was on her way to pick up their son early when she received the tragic, heartbreaking phone call.

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