1-Year-Old Boy Dies from Opioid Exposure at Bronx Daycare; 3 Other Children Hospitalized

A law enforcement source reportedly said a daycare owner “wasted precious minutes” making phone calls instead of immediately calling for help, leading to the death of a toddler.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, the owner of Divino Niño Daycare in Kingsbridge, Grei Mendez De Ventura, 36, and her tenant, Carlisto Acevedo Brito, 41, are facing numerous felony counts following the death of 1-year-old Nicholas Dominici.

Three other children — an 8-month-old girl and two 2-year-old boys — were hospitalized after first responders used Narcan to save their lives; Nicholas, however, passed away from opioid exposure that police say happened at the hands of the defendants.

On Monday, NYPD Chief of Detectives Joe Kenny said that police “discovered a kilogram of fentanyl in an area that was used to give the children naps” inside the daycare, which was an apartment that Ventura turned into a daycare.

According to the New York Post, security footage captured Ventura’s husband arriving at the daycare through a back entrance prior to first responders showing up. He stayed inside for a few minutes before exiting with a large bag. Law enforcement believes the bag was big enough to transport multiple kilos of illegal drugs.

According to police sources, De Ventura wasted time that possibly could have saved Nicholas’ life by making three phone calls after the children were exposed to fentanyl.

“She wasted precious minutes, worrying about herself and the drug dealers. When she should’ve been most concerned about saving these innocent babies’ lives,” a law enforcement source told the Post.

Sources also reportedly said that the children inhaled fentanyl in the air after someone cut it up inside the daycare facility.

According to neighbors, there were longstanding suspicions in the community that the daycare was a front for drug operations. The business opened over a year ago, with adults coming and going into the facility, yet no children were seen there until around two months ago.

Residents said it was common knowledge that the daycare was likely involved in illicit activities and that the recent news came as no surprise.

“It was a day care for a year with no children. For one year, she had a day care with no children but people go in. But no babies?” a 69-year-old neighbor told the Post.  “A day care with no children and men coming in and out. Yes, we knew something. We knew something, something was not good happening there.”

The New York Times reports that De Ventura had been renting a room to her co-defendant at the daycare apartment, for $200 a week. Her attorney, Andres Aranda, argued that she didn’t know that drugs were in the apartment and that her only crime is “renting a room.”

“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,” Aranda said, according to CBS New York.

She’s now facing murder, criminal possession of drugs, endangering the welfare of a child, and assault charges. She remains behind bars without bail.

Brito is facing similar charges and expected to face arraignment soon.

Check back for updates.

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[Feature Photo: Nicholas Dominici/Handout]

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