On Sept. 15, Nicholas Dominici, 21 months old, and three other children — a 1-year-old boy, two 2-year-old boys and an 8-month-old girl — were found unresponsive in the basement of an at-home daycare center and were believed to have inhaled the deadly drug, the New York Post reported.
When first responders arrived at the scene, they found two of the children in cardiac arrest. Nicholas and a 2-year-old boy were given multiple doses of Narcan, an overdose-reversing drug, officials said.
Police said Nicholas was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he died.
On Sept. 16, officers said the 2-year-old boy remains in critical condition and the 8-month-old female was listed in stable condition, The Post reported.
Authorities said a fourth child, a 2-year-old boy, had been picked up from the daycare center just before 1 p.m. on Sept. 15. They also appeared to have been exposed to drugs and were privately taken to a local hospital where they are in stable condition.
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The daycare owner, 36-year-old Grei Mendez De Ventura, and neighbor, 41-year-old Carlisto Acevedo Brito, were arrested on Sept. 16 and each face 11 charges, including assault, depraved-indifference murder and child endangerment, The Post reported.
Authorities said they searched the building and found nearly a kilo of fentanyl, as well as multiple kilo presses — a device used to combine fentanyl with other drugs like heroin and cocaine.
Police said Ventura opened the daycare in May and it passed a surprise inspection on Sept. 6.
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Sept. 15 was the end of Nicholas’ first week at the daycare center. His father, Otoniel Feliz, said he initially thought his son was sick from carbon monoxide poisoning.
“It was a peaceful place, it seemed like they would take good care [of the kids]," Feliz said. "They always keep in contact with us. Everything seemed fine."
Feliz added, “We expected that we were taking our son to a place where he would be taken care of, not to the funeral home.”
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