KINGSBRIDGE, BRONX (WABC) — A week after Otoniel Feliz dropped off his 1-year-old son, Nicholas Dominici, at a day care center in the Bronx, he was found dead there.
Emergency crews were called to the Divino Nino Day Care Center at 2707 Morris Ave. in Kingsbridge on Friday afternoon for reports of a cardiac arrest.
Drug production equipment found inside the family daycare is suspected in the death of Dominici and the hospitalization of three other young children. Two people associated with the day care — the woman in charge of the center and another man — were taken into custody Saturday and charges are pending, law enforcement sources said.
Carlisto Acevedo Brito, 41, and Grei Mendez, 36, were arrested and charged with 11 counts, including murder, manslaughter and assault. They are scheduled to appear in court on Sunday.
Officials said Brito was a tenant who rented a room from Mendez. Authorities said Brito was the cousin of Mendez’s husband.
Law enforcement officials said the day care center was operated out of a converted apartment building. Police discovered a kilogram press while executing a search warrant at the nursery.
“This is a common item used by drug dealers when packaging large quantities of drugs,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenney said at a news conference overnight.
It’s unclear what types of drugs may be being produced or how children may be exposed to them.
“We don’t know exactly what happened to these babies,” said NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban, whose DEA has joined the investigation into his death.
Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said the victim somehow came into contact with “a potent substance that can poison the recipient by inhalation, ingestion or contact with the skin. We are not aware of any specific cases in this case.” what happened.” “
Officials said the children who stayed at the day care center ate something and then took a nap around 1 p.m. At 2:30 pm, when the staff went to wake them up, the 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 taken to hospital.
Investigators believe the children were chronically exposed to unknown opioids. A two-year-old boy came home around 12:15pm and was later found by his mother “acting drowsy and unresponsive”.
His mother rushed him to the hospital, where the opioid reversal drug naloxone saved his life.
A medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of Dominici’s death, and doctors will collect urine and blood from the surviving children to try to identify the drugs they were exposed to.
“I love him, I miss him, I want him back, but nothing can bring me back my son. When I come home from get off work and walk in the door, he’s like ‘Dad, Daddy!'” Otoniel said. Feliz.
With tears in his eyes and a heavy heart, Feliz is mourning and thinking about how he lost his son in a place he thought was safe.
“My wife was on her way to daycare. She had planned to pick him up early. Shortly before she arrived, she got the call and saw the ambulance,” Feliz added.
The day care center, which serves children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old, opened as recently as January and passed a surprise inspection by city inspectors last week, finding no violations.
After removing the children from the daycare, the fire department tested the air for environmental hazards and found no signs of carbon monoxide. Officers then became suspicious of opioid exposure and executed search warrants in rooms, cabinets and other spaces where the drug packaging device was found.
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