Daycare Fentanyl Death Leads to Criminal Charges

Police on the scene outside of the daycare | Image by Dave Sanders/The New York Times/Redux

Two arrests have been made in connection to the suspected exposure of several children to fentanyl at a daycare facility in New York City.

Three children — a 2-year-old, a 1-year-old, and an 8-month-old— were hospitalized on Friday after becoming unconscious at a home-based daycare center called Divino Niño in the Bronx.

“All three children were unresponsive and demonstrating symptoms of opioid exposure. Narcan was administered to all three of these children in an attempt to save their lives,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny explained during a press conference, according to ABC News.

“Two children survived. Unfortunately, one male … passed away at Montefiore Hospital at 3:29 p.m.,” Kenny continued.

The victim was 1-year-old Nicholas Dominici. His parents, Zoila Dominici and Otoniel Feliz, described him in an interview with CBS New York as intelligent and full of love for everyone he came across.

Two individuals now reportedly face 11 charges related to Dominici’s death: 41-year-old Carlisto Acevedo Brito and 36-year-old Grei Mendez.

They were taken into custody after one of the surviving children tested positive for fentanyl, and a search warrant executed at Divino Niño allegedly yielded a kilo of fentanyl and drug manufacturing equipment. They both face charges of murder, manslaughter, assault, and drug possession.

Divino Niño has been licensed and fully operational since January. It had also passed a surprise inspection conducted by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene just a week before the incident.

“The city’s gonna have to step up more and go through every day care and investigate them good because the way things happened in there, I don’t think it was right,” said Joanne Martinez, a resident living near Divino Niño, per CBS.

Mayor Eric Adams referred to the incident as “a real wake-up call to individuals who have opioids or fentanyl in their homes,” according to ABC.

As extensively covered by The Dallas Express, deaths caused by fentanyl poisoning have spiked nationwide, causing great alarm among public health officials.

While only 59 deaths recorded in Texas were due to fentanyl poisoning in 2012, the number skyrocketed to 2,161 in 2022, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services fentanyl data dashboard.

In Dallas, where local authorities struggle to grapple with crime amid an ongoing shortage of officers in the Dallas Police Department, drug and narcotics violations have been on the rise.

As of September 18, there have been 7,360 offenses logged since the start of the year, according to the City’s crime analytics dashboard. This represents a year-over-year increase of 6.4%.

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