Listen to this article here

Opioid exposure is suspected by two individuals who now face multiple charges, including murder, in the death of a 1-year-old boy in a daycare in the New York City borough of the Bronx.

Grei Mendez, 36, stayed silent as she was walked from a police station in handcuffs Sunday.

YouTube video

CBS News reports Mendez owns Divino Niño Daycare, where one-year-old Nicholas Dominici died and three other children were hospitalized after what authorities say was suspected opioid exposure.

First responders had found the babies in cardiac arrest and administered Narcan.

“It’s a tragedy for the children. It’s a tragedy for her because I don’t believe she’s involved in what happened, so it’s really bad all around for everybody,” said Andres Aranda, Mendez’s attorney.

Mendez was arraigned Sunday night and denied bail. She faces several charges, along with 41-year-old Carlisto Acevedo Brito, Mendez’s husband’s cousin.

Mendez was renting a room to Acevedo Brito for $200 a month.

Daycare opioid exposure is a ‘wakeup call’ to NYC

“It is a real wakeup call for individuals who have opioids or fentanyl in their homes,” Mayor Eric Adams said.

“We don’t know what happened in this case … but what it tells us is that the overdose crisis affects all of us, which is why it’s an all-hands-on-deck public health moment,” New York City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said.

YouTube video

“She just didn’t know. She rented a room to somebody, and she didn’t know what was going on,” Aranda said.  

CBS News reports in court, officials said one kilo of fentanyl was found in a closet at the daycare, along with two kilo presses, which are used to process drugs. A third kilo press was found in Acevedo Brito’s bedroom, authorities added.

At least one surviving child tested positive for fentanyl.

“The way those kids got hurt I think is something that nobody, nobody deserves that. No mother, no grandmother,” neighbor Joanne Martinez said.

“As a father, you always trust other people to take care of your kids when you go to work. This is the last thing you could possibly think would happen to your son,” neighbor Hailey Rivera said.

opioid exposure
Police and other authorities flocked to a daycare in the Bronx after children collapsed of apparent cardiac arrest. One diedImage: Peter Gerber.

The daycare had passed a city inspection as recently as this month.

“The city’s gonna have to step up more and go through every daycare and investigate them good because the way things happened in there, I don’t think it was right,” Martinez said.

The two suspects are each facing more than 10 charges, including murder, criminal possession of a narcotic and endangering the welfare of a child.

Mendez’s next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday morning. Acevido Brito is expected to be arraigned soon.

Authorities say hours before, a 2-year-old was pulled from the day care after showing signs of opioid exposure. Narcan saved him.

The medical examiner has yet to determine Nicholas’ official cause of death.

Hailing from Charlotte North Carolina, born litterateur Ezekiel J. Walker earned a B.A. in Psychology at Winston Salem State University. Walker later published his first creative nonfiction book and has...

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply