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Two arrested in 1-year-old Nicholas Dominici's suspected opioid death at Bronx day care

2 arrests made in Bronx day care death
2 arrests made in Bronx day care death 02:53

NEW YORK -- Two people were arrested and charged in connection to the suspected opioid death of a 1-year-old boy at a Bronx day care center on Saturday. 

Three other children possibly exposed to drugs remain hospitalized; one of them remains in critical condition.

Grei Mendez, 36, the owner of Divino Niño Daycare, and Carlisto Acevedo Brito, 41, are accused of murder, manslaughter, assault, and various drug charges. 

Zoila Dominici and Otoniel Feliz are grappling with the unimaginable loss of their 1-year-old son, Nicholas Dominici, the youngest of their five children. He would have celebrated his 2nd birthday in November.

"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 neighbors," Dominici told CBS New York in Spanish.

Watch Alecia Reid's report

Police sources: Arrest made in 1-year-old's death at Bronx day care 02:51

They live within walking distance from Divino Niño, a home-based day care center which the boy's father said was recommended by Kingsbridge Heights Community Center.

Calls came in Friday afternoon about an 8-month-old, a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old under cardiac arrest. Officials say they were found unresponsive, showing symptoms of opioid exposure. Police sources confirm Narcan was used on them, but 1-year-old Nicholas did not survive.

"We spoke to the ones who are in charge ... They recommended that place and apparently complied with all of the rules. We were on a waitlist for our son to qualify. Apparently the place passed all of the inspections. Supposedly that apartment was only for day cares, but the rumor is, from what we have heard, they also rented rooms," Feliz said in Spanish.

The day care is registered under the city's Department of Children and Family Services and has only been open since this past January. It passed a surprise inspection about a week before this. But during Friday's investigation, authorities found a kilopress inside, which is used to package large amounts of drugs.

"We don't know what happened in this case ... but what it tells us is that the overdose crisis affects all of us, which is why it's an all-hands-on-deck public health moment," New York City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said.

"It is a real wakeup call for individuals who have opioids or fentanyl in their homes," Mayor Eric Adams said.

Authorities say hours before, a 2-year-old was pulled from the day care after showing signs of opioid exposure. Narcan saved him.

The 1-year-old's mom says her son had only been at the day care for a week and was just getting used to it. She and her husband want to see more thorough inspections on day care centers.

"The hardest thing is for me to come home and open that door and not see Nicholas saying, 'Dad, Dad.' It is too hard. We can't. Because the irresponsibility of people that don't know, they don't know that playing with drugs and leaving them where kids can reach them is too dangerous," Feliz said. 

"Look at what happened. If I had known, I wouldn't have taken him," Dominici said.

The medical examiner's office says Nicholas's exact cause of death is still pending.

A criminal investigation into the day care center is ongoing.

We reached out to the day care and the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center but have not heard back. 

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