Dad of baby killed at daycare that was front for drugs says 'he'd so much love'
A dad has spoken out after his son died after ingesting the powerful drug fentanyl at a daycare, that police now say was a front for drugs.
Authorities are now investigating alleged links to the drug trade after the death of Nicholas Dominici, one. His dad Otoniel Feliz expressed his devastation and anger at the situation saying he took his child to "daycare, not a funeral home."
Little Nicholas was among four young children exposed to potentially lethal doses of the incredibly potent drug fentanyl at Divino Nino Daycare in the Bronx, New York City. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital, but the other three toddlers survived after life-saving treatment.
The young children, two boys aged two and on for their sisters, just eight months, remain in hospital. It is believed the youngsters were exposed to fentanyl when it was being cut and some of it entered the air, and they breathed it in .
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Grei Mendez De Ventura, 36, and her neighbour Carlisto Acevedo Brito, 41, are jointly accused of offences including murder, assault and child endangerment following the horrific mass poisoning at a daycare centre in the Bronx, New York City. A manhunt has also been launched for Ventura’s husband.
The tragic boy's mum told CBS: "He was so intelligent. He would repeat everything you would say to him. He had so much love. Everyone who knew him appreciated him, all of our neighbours."
A kilo press that can be used for “large quantities of drugs," was found inside the daycare, police said.
Police said they found multiple drugs and suspect equipment used in the manufacture of narcotics inside the daycare. Officials confirmed all four children are thought to have come into contact with fentanyl, which is up to 50 times stronger than heroin.
Tests for potential carbon monoxide poisoning were carried out, but a witness at the scene said officers could be seen testing the air - readings were negative. An investigation is ongoing.
At a press conference on Saturday, Mayor Eric Adams said Dominici's death underscored challenges the city faces in its fight against opioids.
“This crisis is real, and it is a real wake‑up call for individuals who have opioids or fentanyl in their homes,” Adams said. “The mere contact is deadly for an adult and it’s extremely deadly for a child.”
Mendez and Brito were charged with depraved indifference murder, assault, and criminal possession of narcotics, including Fentanyl. They are expected to be arraigned today.
Distraught dad Otoniel Feliz told the Mail his late son was due to turn two in November and that this was his first week of daycare. "'It was his first week. This was his first week. We had a good recommendation. We were told it was a great place. It looked like a nice place," he told the paper.
Mr Feliz added that parents are not allowed to go inside the daycare after their child's first day, with staff saying it is to avoid contamination. He heartbreakingly added that his wife had gone to pick their son up earlier than planned as she was missing him but came across the traumatic scene when she arrived.
He told how his wife called him to say Nicholas was going to hospital and they thought he would be fine - 10 minutes later she called back and said he was dead.