1 child dead, 3 hospitalized in suspected opioid exposure at daycare

First responders were called to the daycare on reports of three unconscious children

By Jennifer Rodriguez
The Charlotte Observer

NEW YORK — The owner of a home-based New York daycare and her relative are facing murder charges after police said a 1-year-old died and three other children were hospitalized from suspected opioid exposures, news outlets reported.

Grei Mendez, 36, and her husband’s cousin Carlisto Acevedo Brito, 41, are charged with murder, manslaughter and several counts of assault, police said, according to WABC.

The 1-year-old who died, Nicholas Dominici, had only been going to the daycare in the Bronx for one week, according to WABC. He was one of four children who police told the outlet are believed to have been exposed to an opioid.

It happened Friday, Sept. 15, at Divino Niño daycare center, the Associated Press reported.

First responders were called to the daycare on reports of three unconscious children, NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said at a news briefing, according to a transcript posted online by city officials. The children were given Narcan and taken to hospitals.

Nicholas was pronounced dead at the hospital, the Associated Press reported.

The two other children, a 2-year-old boy and an 8-month-old girl, survived, police said. Another 2-year-old boy reportedly got sick at home and was taken to a hospital and revived with Narcan.

One of the toddlers taken to a hospital is listed in critical condition, according to the Associated Press.

“These children do not deserve this. So please pray for them and their families,” NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said at the news briefing.

Kenny said at the news briefing they found a kilo press in the daycare, which is equipment typically used to package large quantities of drugs.

Because three of the children were revived with Narcan, investigators to believe they may have been exposed to fentanyl, WPIX 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 9th site — and no violations were found,” Commissioner Ashwin Vasan from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said at the news briefing.

Mendez and Brito were arrested Saturday and are also charged with criminal possession of narcotics, according to the Associated Press.

Contact information for the daycare or an attorney who could comment on Mendez’s or Brito’s behalf was not immediately available.

©2023 The Charlotte Observer.
Visit charlotteobserver.com.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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