Two Arrested after Opioid Exposure Kills Toddler at Bronx Daycare Centre

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In a horrifying incident that has left a community reeling, two individuals have been apprehended and blamed for murder following the tragic death of a one-year-old toddler. This occurred after the child along with three others were subjected to the suspected presence of opioids at a child care center based in the Bronx.

Grei Mendez, 36 and Carlisto Acevedo Brito, 41, found themselves under arrest when Nicholas Dominici’s life ended. Two other 2-year-old toddlers and an 8-month-old girl also fell prey to exposure from fentanyl, resulting in acute opioid intoxication at Divino Niño day care center.

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The aforementioned duo was incriminated for their potential involvement in murder, manslaughter, assault, endangerment to a minor, and illegal ownership of a controlled substance. Having been presented in front of a judge, they were subsequently detained with no option for bail.

Documented evidence reveals that Mendez played the roles of owner and operator of the child care center, with Brito being kin to Mendez’s spouse and living within the confines of the daycare center.

Local law enforcement rushed to the scene at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Friday and made the chilling discovery of unconscious children. First responders used Narcan, an opioid reversal remedy, to try and revive the kids.

Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, Nicholas did not survive and passed away at the Montefiore Medical Center. Another 2-year-old was found “acting lethargic and unresponsive” by his mother and was taken to BronxCare Health System, where timely administration of Narcan resulted in him being saved. The surviving children are currently reported to be “doing fine.”

In a shocking finding, it was discovered that a whole kilogram of fentanyl had been stashed under a mat where children typically napped at the daycare center. Additional searches turned up three kilogram press devices, with two located inside the hallway closet and one in Brito’s bedroom.

Meanwhile, the defense attorney for Mendez, Andres Manuel Aranda, has declared his client to have nothing to do with the incident and vouches for her innocence. Mendez, according to her attorney, feels utterly despondent about the situation and was the one who alerted the police.

Dr. Ashwin Vasan, commissioner of the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, also weighed in on the shocking incident, stating that the incident highlights the disturbing exposure of powerful substances to individuals we wouldn’t necessarily associate with such risk.

The daycare center was recently inspected by officials from the health department and was found to be violation-free. Nonetheless, it seems as though this tragic incident is opening up discussions about the presence of opioids in home-based day care centers.

Vasan laments the situation and finds it one of the darkest days in his capacity as commissioner, stating that the incident was “truly unimaginable”. A sentiment echoed by NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban who described the ordeal as a “nightmare” for the affected families.

Mayor Eric Adams lambasted the episode as “total madness,” and expressed his gratitude towards emergency responders for their swift action. It was also revealed that mortality from drug overdose has reached an all-time high, increasing dramatically in both adults and children, particularly since 2018.

Despite the increasing prevalence of opioid-related fatalities among adolescents, deaths among younger children are generally attributed to the availability of drugs within their vicinity. In 2021, fentanyl was responsible for the shocking number of casualties involving infants and children aged 1 to 4.