A tragic incident has struck the heart of New York City as police arrested the owner of a local daycare center and a building occupant following the distressing demise of a one-year-old boy, coupled with three other young children falling ill by what officials speculate as an unintentional exposure to opioids.
The shocking revelation emerged a day after authorities found a quartet of juveniles, their ages extending from eight months to two years, exhibiting symptoms of a probable opioid overdose after their stay at the Bronx-based daycare facility, Divino Niño.
Nicholas Dominici, the age of one, was officially pronounced dead upon arrival at a nearby hospital. The three other infants were brought back to consciousness through doses of Narcan, an overdose-reversal medication, as per the official reports.
Consequently, on Saturday night, officers apprehended Grei Mendez, the 36-year-old center owner, along with Carlisto Acevedo Brito, a 41-year-old tenant of the facility, on grave charges encompassing depraved indifference murder, assault, and illicit possession of narcotics, notably Fentanyl. The alleged culprits are due to appear in court for arraignment on Sunday.
While the exact cause of Dominici’s death stands to be ascertained, further investigations by the city’s medical examiner are currently underway.
During the subsequent search of the daycare center, a home-based establishment inaugurated earlier this year in the Kingsbridge district of the Bronx, police discovered a kilo press, a tool commonly utilized for bundling large volumes of drugs.
Bereaved parents, Zoila Dominici and Otoniel Feliz, revealed that their toddler had only recently begun his attendance at the facility a week earlier. Dominici described the boy as intelligent and loving, and fondly remembered how he would repeat everything said to him, earning the affection of all who knew him.
This tragic incident has shone a spotlight on New York City’s escalating opioid crisis, mirroring a broader, national trend of increasing opioid-related deaths, predominantly caused by Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid exponentially stronger than heroin.
Mayor Eric Adams, at a press conference, proclaimed that Dominici’s untimely death further accentuated the city’s battle against opioids. Adams clarified that the crisis was real and served as an alarm bell for individuals harboring opioids or Fentanyl within their residences, warning that even minimal contact could prove fatal, particularly to children.
Recent research indicates a worrying increase in the number of young people succumbing to unintentional drug overdoses, opioids being the chief contributors to lethal poisonings among juveniles. Studies reveal that nearly all instances of child exposure to opioids involve oral ingestion, rather than tactile or inhalation contact, a 2019 finding published in the Journal of Pediatrics noted.
Official yet have not provided any speculation regarding how the children might have come into contact with the harmful drugs.