"This was not supposed to happen," the parents of Nicholas Feliz Dominici said Wednesday
The New York Police Department (NYPD) has uncovered a trapdoor hiding “a large quantity” of illegal drugs at the Bronx daycare where a 1-year-old died from suspected opioid exposure.
“As part of an ongoing overdose fatality investigation in a Bronx daycare center on 9/15/23, a search warrant was conducted by @NYPDDetectives,” a tweet from the department stated Thursday.
“A large quantity of Fentanyl, other narcotics, & drug paraphernalia was recovered in a trap floor in the play area at the daycare center,” the statement continued.
1-year-old Nicholas Feliz Dominici lost his life after apparently being exposed to opioids at the daycare last week, authorities said in a Sept.15 press conference. The young boy was pronounced dead at Montefiore Medical Center, the NYPD confirmed.
As part of an ongoing overdose fatality investigation in a Bronx daycare center on 9/15/23, a search warrant was conducted by @NYPDDetectives. A large quantity of Fentanyl, other narcotics, & drug paraphernalia was recovered in a trap floor in the play area at the daycare center. https://t.co/VycTB9hzpx pic.twitter.com/ZwaeukUHqS
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) September 21, 2023
“This was not supposed to happen, it was expected that in this kind of place our son would be safe while his parents fought to give Nicholas and his brothers a better future,” his parents Otoniel Feliz Samboy and Zoila Dominici said on a GoFundMe account created on Wednesday.
“But it didn't happen like that,” they continued, adding that there are “three others who are still in the hospital” who “had contact or exposure to fentanyl, a lethal drug capable of killing just by being close to it.”
The other children were identified as an 8-month-old girl, a 1-year-old boy and a 2-year-old boy, the NYPD said in a prior statement shared with PEOPLE.
Grei Mendez, 36, and Carlisto Acevedo Brito, 41 have both been charged over Nicholas’ death, PEOPLE confirmed on Sept. 18.
Mendez operated the Bronx-based Divino Niño Daycare from an apartment, while Brito was a resident in the building, reported The New York Times.
Prior to the trapdoor being discovered, police allegedly recovered “a large taped package” of fentanyl weighing about 1 kilogram (4.5 Lbs.) and two one-kilogram (1 Lbs.) press devices used to package the drug inside a hallway closet at the facility, according to a complaint filed in Bronx Criminal Court and obtained by PEOPLE.
Police also allegedly found a third kilo press in Brito’s closet, and he and Mendez are accused of 11 criminal offenses including murder in the second degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance and endangering the welfare of a child, according to the complaint, which has not yet gone to a grand jury.
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According to CBS News, Mendez and Brito were set to appear at the Bronx Supreme Court on Thursday morning, however, neither appeared before a judge because they are currently in federal custody, so their attorneys waived their appearance, according to the outlet.
Their next court date is scheduled for Oct. 5.
According to the mayor, the four kids “appeared to have come in contact with an opioid that led to hospitalization for three of the children, and one child is DOA — died — from this interaction.”
“All three children were unresponsive and demonstrating symptoms of opioid exposure,” Kenny added during the press conference. “Narcan was administered to all three of these children in an attempt to save their lives.”
On Tuesday, DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank A. Tarentino III said, “Tragedy doesn’t begin to describe the events that took place at Divino Niño Daycare. This death and drug poisonings are every parent’s worst nightmare and clearly define the danger fentanyl poses to every New Yorker.”
He also called the defendants’ actions callous, irresponsible and unacceptable.
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