Daycare Operators Charged with Murder after Toddler’s Overdose on Hidden Fentanyl

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Three people, a Bronx day care provider, her spouse, and a relative, have been charged with murder following a fentanyl exposure incident at a daycare center, which led to the tragic death of a one-year-old child and put the lives of three other children at risk.

The accused individuals, identified as 36-year-old Grei Mendez, 34-year-old Felix Herrera Garcia, and 41-year-old Carlisto Brito, are each facing charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter positioned around the unfortunate demise of young Nicholas Dominici, as disclosed in recent court documents.

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Information provided by law enforcement sources reveals that on September 15, Nicholas, along with two boys aged two, and a girl barely eight months old, had been exposed to what is suspected to be fentanyl at the Divino Ni̒no daycare center located in the Bronx district of New York City. Little Nicholas succumbed to the deadly opioid exposure that very day, whereas the other three children barely survived, having to be rushed to the hospital with severe opioid intoxication.

Drowning in grief and disbelief, Nicholas’ father, Otoniel Feliz, shared in a sorrowful press briefing that he had been enthusiastically waiting for the cherished moment when he could proudly display his son’s kindergarten graduation photograph. Instead, what he had now was a heart-wrenching reminder of the child’s untimely death – a photograph from Nicholas’ memorial.

Legal documents state that Mendez, along with Garcia and Brito, were additionally indicted on charges of first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, first-degree assault (four counts), second-degree assault (five counts), criminal possession of a controlled substance, and endangering the welfare of a child (four counts). Following their arraignment, all three professed their innocence in Bronx Supreme Criminal Court.

Mendez, the accused daycare operator, will continue to maintain her innocence, as per her defense attorney, Andres Manuel Aranda, who expressed his client’s deep sadness over the children’s ordeal. Comments from the defense attorneys of the other two defendants have yet to be solicited.

The indictment suggests that the accused were implicated in drug dealing activities, suspected to have processed fentanyl alongside other drugs or common household items such as baby powder. Shockingly, such operations were apparently conducted within the daycare center, using pressing machines to ready the drugs for further distribution.

Devastatingly, a large quantity of the lethal drug was allegedly stored atop children’s play mats, with further contraband discovered beneath hidden trapdoors in a room where the young wards played and slept, as per court records.

The tragic loss of young Nicholas and the grave risk to other innocent children has rattled the community and driven an outcry for justice. Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark expressed sorrow and outrage over the incident, pledging justice for the victims and their families.

The connection between Mendez, Garcia, and Brito extends beyond criminal charges. Brito, identified as Garcia’s cousin, was also a tenant at the daycare center. Both Brito and Mendez were arrested the day after the horrifying incident. Garcia, however, was apprehended in Mexico last week.

Investigations revealed that Mendez had called Garcia twice as the children started showing overdose symptoms before deciding to call 911. All the while, Garcia was caught on camera appearing to evacuate the premises with two shopping bags believed to contain drugs just before emergency services arrived.

Apart from local charges, the trio is also facing federal charges of conspiracy to distribute narcotics leading to death and possession with intentions to distribute narcotics leading to death. Furthermore, another suspect, 38-year-old Renny Antonio Parra Paredes, has also been charged federally with a single account of conspiracy to distribute narcotics resulting in death.