Police confirm that two people have been arrested on murder charges after a 1-year-old died and three other children were hospitalized following suspected exposure to opioids at a Bronx, New York daycare on Friday. The 1-year-old, Nicholas Dominici, died; and three other children were hospitalized after being exposed to fentanyl at the daycare. A spokesperson for the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner said Nicholas’s cause and manner of death was under investigation.
The two suspects — Carlisto Acevedo Brito, 41, and Grei Mendez, 36 — were arrested Saturday night on multiple counts of manslaughter, assault, criminal possession of a controlled substance and narcotic drug and endangering the welfare of a child. Brito and Mendez’s relationship to the day care center was not immediately apparent. It was also not immediately clear whether Brito and Mendez have lawyers who could speak on their behalf.
Police said that a 911 call came in just after 2:40 p.m. on Friday, and upon arrival at the daycare facility, officers discovered Dominici unconscious and unresponsive. The child was later pronounced dead at Montefiore Medical Center upon arrival. Officers also found an unconscious 2-year-old boy and an 8-month-old girl, who were also transported to Montefiore; the boy is in critical condition and the girl is stable condition. New York Police Department Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said that first responders also administered Narcan to the three children who they found at the day care center. Upon executing a search warrant at the day care, NYPD officials found a “kilo press,” which Kenny described as an item “commonly used by drug dealers when packaging large quantities of drugs.”
A third child, a 2-year-old boy, was also hospitalized at BronxCare Health System in stable condition. Detective Kenny said that the third child’s mother took him to the hospital herself after picking him up from the day care center around 12:15 p.m. that day and noticing that he was “acting lethargic and unresponsive” once they returned home. At the hospital, staff administered Narcan, the opioid overdose antidote, to save the boy’s life.
According to Kenny and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Ashwin Vasan, the day care center was a home-based center licensed by the state of NY, and was last inspected by officials with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on Sept. 9. No violations were found at that time, and Vasan added that it was a surprise inspection that the day care officials did not have advance notice of. Vasan said that the day care center, which opened in January, had had two routine inspections early on to secure its license.
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