Daycare Owner, Neighbor Charged With Deadly Fentanyl Exposure

Choosing a daycare provider can often be a grueling process for parents, but even thorough research does not guarantee their children will be safe when out of their control.

Multiple families in New York City recently learned this painful lesson when one infant died and several others were hospitalized due to apparent exposure to fentanyl.

According to Otoniel Feliz, whose 21-month-old son Nicholas Dominici allegedly died as a result of the daycare providers’ actions, the facility appeared to be a “peaceful place” and its employees seemed perfectly suited for taking care of children.

“They always keep in contact with us,” he said of the staff. “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.”

Feliz learned of his son’s death on Friday, just days after the child began going to Divino Nino daycare in the Bronx. Two other toddlers at the facility were found unresponsive and rushed to an area hospital.

“It’s all just too much right now,” said the mother of a 2-year-old boy who was listed in critical condition and an 8-month-old girl in stable condition at Montefiore Hospital as of Saturday afternoon.

Grei Menendez De Ventura, the 36-year-old owner of Divino Nino, and her neighbor, 41-year-old Carlisto Acevedo Brito, were arrested on Saturday on 11 criminal counts each including depraved indifference murder. Other criminal charges include manslaughter and multiple counts of assault, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and endangering the welfare of a child.

“So much irresponsibility,” added the two siblings’ grandmother of the daycare owner… “They are babies. It’s her job to care for them, protect them. She needs consequences.”

Another child at the facility, a 2-year-old boy who was picked up by a guardian prior to the other three being found unresponsive, was admitted to BronxCare Health System after exhibiting symptoms of exposure to fentanyl.

Earlier this month, officials conducted an unannounced inspection of the daycare center, which it passed. When authorities investigated the facility after the recent incident, however, they reportedly found almost a kilogram of fentanyl as well as other drugs and equipment used to combine them.

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