New York mayor calls for ‘national assault’ on fentanyl following child death at day care

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams is calling for a ‘national assault’ on fentanyl after three children were injured and another toddler died at a day care in the Bronx. As Emily’s Hope previously reported, a 911 call came in for three unconscious children at the Divino Niño Daycare on Friday afternoon.  One of the children, 1-year-old Nicholas Dominici, was pronounced dead at the hospital. Police Chief Joseph Kenny said during a news conference Monday evening that the other three children, two 2-year-old boys and an 8-month-old girl, are now doing “fine.” He also confirmed that fentanyl was found in the children’s systems.

“We probably saved the lives of three of those children because of Narcan,” Adams said.

On Tuesday, federal officials announced that the day care operator Grei Mendez and tenant Carlisto Acevedo Brito are now facing federal charges because of the amount of drugs found. They were already arraigned Sunday night in Bronx Criminal Court on murder charges.

Investigators are still trying to find Brito’s husband.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said the defendants tried to cover up the fentanyl operation before calling emergency responders. 

According to CBS New York, phone logs reveal Grei Mendez called her husband Friday before calling 911. The news outlet also reports that police recovered video that shows the husband removing things from the basement before EMS arrived. 

“This is a tragedy, and my heart breaks for the children and their families. But I promise you this: We’re going to keep fighting for justice,” Williams said. “I also have a message for anyone out there selling fentanyl: Stop pushing this poison. It ruins lives.” 

During the Monday evening news conference, Police Chief Joseph Kenny also revealed that officers found a kilogram of fentanyl at the day care, including some underneath a mat where the children had been sleeping. They also found three-kilo presses, which are typically used to package and combine illegal drugs.

“So, if you’re bringing fentanyl in your home, landing it on the countertop, landing it on the place your child sleeps, landing it near a crib, landing it on your clothing, that little corner, that little piece, less than the size of a fingernail, a tenth of a size of a fingernail, can kill an adult, so imagine what it can do to a child. You are irresponsible as an adult if you have this inside your home. This is not the drug of yesteryear. This is so dangerous,” Adams said.

City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan revealed that the department will soon release overdose data for 2022, which once again hit a record peak.

“It is in fact completely stressing our entire response to the overdose crisis,” Vasan said. “A New Yorker dies from an overdose every three hours, and it’s now more than that. Narcan has to be everywhere. You should be carrying Narcan right now.”