‘It’s all just too much’: NYC day care owner arrested in death of baby from suspected fentanyl exposure

Grieving families are awaiting answers after an infant died and others remain hospitalized following suspected exposure to fentanyl at their New York City day care.

“It was a peaceful place, it seemed like they would take good care [of the kids].”

(Video: CBS News)

Two people have been arrested in connection with the death of 21-month-old Nicholas Dominici and the endangerment of other children at the Divino Nino day care center in the Bronx following the Friday incident.

Saturday, 36-year-old Grei Mendez de Ventura and her neighbor, 41-year-old Carlisto Acevedo Brito, were arrested and slapped with a bevy of charges that included the murder of Dominici, according to the New York Post. The eleven charges included depraved-indifference murder, child endangerment and assault.

Speaking with the Post, the boy’s father, Otoniel Feliz, expressed, “It was a peaceful place, it seemed like they would take good care [of the kids]. They always keep in contact with us. Everything seemed fine. We expected that we were taking our son to a place where he would be taken care of, not to the funeral home.”

CBS News had reported that the parents had only begun using the day care center this week leading up to the Friday incident where Dominici and three other toddlers were believed to have been exposed to fentanyl and other drugs and left unresponsive.

The mother of two of the victims, a two-year-old boy and an eight-month-old girl, spoke with the Post and said, “It’s all just too much right now.”

As of Saturday afternoon, the boy was said to have been in critical condition and the girl was in stable condition after they had been rushed to Montefiore Hospital and given multiple doses of Narcan.

Their grandmother said of Ventura, “So much irresponsibility. They are babies. It’s her job to care for them, protect them. She needs consequences.”

As for the fourth child, the two-year-old boy had been picked up from the day care center ahead of the 911 call regarding the unresponsive children, but also showed signs of exposure to the drugs and had been reportedly transported to BronxCare Health System where he was said to be in stable condition according to the police.

Authorities explained that the preliminary investigation discovered kilo presses used to combine fentanyl with other drugs in the building along with nearly a kilo of the dangerous substance. Meanwhile, the day care center had reportedly passed a surprise inspection that had taken place just days earlier on Sept. 6.

The Post detailed that “In addition to murder, [the suspects] are each also charged with: manslaughter of person under 11 years old; manslaughter recklessly causing death; four counts assault causing injury through risk of death; four counts of assault causing injury during a felony; four counts of assault causing serious injury; four counts of reckless assault causing serious injury; three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance; criminal possession of a controlled substance; criminal possession of narcotics; and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child.”


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