Authorities said they found fentanyl under a trap door at a New York City day care center where four young children were exposed to the drug last week, leading to the death of a 1-year-old.
Photos shared by investigators showed the trap door, which was found in the play area at the Divino Niño day care center, according to police and WABC-TV. A shelf of toys could be seen near the door.
Behind it, authorities said they found “a large quantity of Fentanyl, other narcotics, (and) drug paraphernalia.”
The discovery was made as police continue to investigate the death of a toddler identified by WPIX as Nicholas Dominici.
Authorities found Nicholas and two other children, aged 2 years and 8 months, unresponsive after they were called to the day care. First responders recognized that the children were showing symptoms of opioid exposure and administered the overdose treatment Narcan, officials said. They were taken to a hospital, where Nichols died.
“I have to thank God for the time we had with him,” Nicholas’ mother, Zoila Dominici, told The New York Times. With three older siblings, she said her son was “the little prince of the house” and that his siblings “took such good care of him.”
“He shouldn’t have died like that,” she added.
Authorities said that another 2-year-old, whose mother had earlier been picked him up from the day care center, also showed signs of opioid exposure. She took him to a hospital, where he was given Narcan, New York Police Department Chief of Detectives Joe Kenny said.
Earlier, investigators said that authorities found a kilogram of fentanyl under a mat where the children had been put down for their naps. They also found three kilo presses, devices typically used by drug dealers to package large amounts of drugs, officials said.
Authorities have charged the day care’s owner, 36-year-old Grei Mendez, and her husband’s cousin, 41-year-old Carlisto Acevedo Brito, with murder with depraved indifference, WCBS-TV reported. Authorities said Mendez rented a room out to Brito, according to the news station.
Both Mendez and Brito have denied any knowledge of a drug operation at the day care.
Authorities continue to investigate.