KINGSBRIDGE, The Bronx (WABC) — The Bronx day care owner’s husband was caught on video fleeing the scene amid the deadly fentanyl exposure on Friday, police said.

That man is a third suspect in the tragic death of a one-year-old and the hospitalization of three other young children. He is still at large.

First responders were summoned on Friday afternoon to Divino Nino Daycare on 2707 Morris Ave. in Kingsbridge for reports of cardiac arrest.

Nicholas Dominici, 1, died Friday after police say he was exposed to fentanyl that was in the day care.

Officials say the children ate something around 1 p.m. Friday and took a nap. When workers went to wake them up at 2:30 p.m., three were unconscious. Dominici was pronounced dead at Montefiore.

Carlisto Acevedo Brito, 41, and Grei Mendez, 36, were dealt 11 charges including murder, manslaughter, and assault.

Police continued to look for Mendez’s husband on Monday for questioning. Officials say Brito is a tenant who was renting a room from Mendez and is is the cousin of Mendez’s husband.

Detectives have learned that Mendez talked to her husband several times, instead of calling 911, in the immediate aftermath of Friday afternoon’s tragedy. They say they have also recovered video of both the husband and other people fleeing the day care with bags of unknown contents in the initial confusion.

Authorities say drug production equipment and a kilo of fentanyl were found inside the home-based day care.

During a briefing on Monday evening, officials say fentanyl was found hidden underneath mats where the children were sleeping. Detectives believe the children inhaled fentanyl particles during their daylong exposure to the drug.

Police also found three kilo presses, a commonly used device for packaging drugs like fentanyl, in a hallway closet outside Brito’s room. Health officials say the drug is responsible for 80% of overdoses in the city.

“Fentanyl is exquisitely dangerous,” New York City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said. “I use the word exquisitely because I don’t have another word to describe how dangerous this drug is.”

Prosecutors said Mendez participated in the “reckless, depraved act” by renting Brito the room in the day care.

During Monday’s briefing, an emotional Mayor Eric Adams expressed outrage at this crime.

“This is total madness that we lost a child to this dangerous substance,” Adams said. “And we almost lost four children to this dangerous substance. There needs to be a full national assault on this drug entering our city.”

Mendez’s attorney said his client was unaware drugs were being stored in her day care by her husband’s cousin, who she was renting a room for $200 a week.

“Her only crime was renting her room to someone who had a kilo,” attorney Andres Aranda said. “There is no evidence that she did anything but care properly for these children.”

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A 2-year-old boy remains in critical condition. An 8-month-old girl and another 2-year-old boy were also rushed to the hospital Friday.

One of the 2-year-old boys, Jaziel Lino, actually went home at around 12:15 p.m. Friday and was later found by his mother to be “acting lethargic and unresponsive.” His mother rushed him to the hospital, where the opioid-reversal medication Narcan saved his life.

His father said it is a miracle that he survived the fentanyl exposure and it was only his son’s fourth day at the day care. He is now back at home.

Lino’s father said now looking back, he finds it suspicious that there were three men standing outside of the day care on that Thursday and that Friday.

With watery eyes and a heavy heart, Otoniel Feliz, Dominici’s father, is mourning and processing how he lost his son at a place he assumed was safe.

“I love him, I miss him, I want him back – but there’s nothing that will give me back my son – when I came home from work and walked through the door, he’d say ‘daddy, daddy!'” said Otoniel Feliz. “My wife was on her way to the day care. She was going to pick him up early. Shortly before she arrives, she receives the call and also sees the ambulance.”

The day care, for children between 6 weeks and 12 years old, recently opened in January and just passed a surprise visit from city inspectors last week with no violations found.

When asked if the circumstances that led up to the incident fell through the cracks, Adams insisted that the city did its job and that inspections, including the surprise visit, and background checks were performed.

“Who did not do their job are the people who were there to protect the children,” Adams said. “Part of this relationship is based on trust, that those who are taking care of our children are going to do it in a safe manner. They broke that trust.”

After the children were removed from the day care, the fire department tested the air for environmental hazards and found no evidence of carbon monoxide. Officials then began to suspect opioid exposure and executed a search warrant to search the rooms, cabinets, and other spaces, where a drug packaging device was found.

A Grand Jury is scheduled to be convened on Thursday.


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