Fentanyl Found Hidden Under Floor at Daycare Where Child Died

Police are still searching for daycare owner's husband
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2023 1:08 AM CDT
Updated Sep 22, 2023 2:08 AM CDT
Man Flees After Child Exposed to Fentanyl Dies at Wife's Daycare
In this photo provided by the New York City Police Department, a trap door leans open over narcotics, including fentanyl, and drug paraphernalia stored in the floor of a day care center, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in New York.   (Courtesy NYPD via AP)
UPDATE Sep 22, 2023 2:08 AM CDT

The New York Police Department on Thursday released photos of what officers say is a huge stash of fentanyl they found hidden under a trap door in the daycare's floor. Other drugs were also allegedly found in the stash totaling more than five kilos, CBS News reports. The two people charged in the case so far have been ordered held without bail, and authorities are still searching for the husband of the daycare owner, who has been on the run since the tragedy, ABC 7 reports.

Sep 21, 2023 1:08 AM CDT

Police are still searching for the husband of the woman who ran the New York City daycare where a child was exposed to fentanyl and died Friday. Police say the man was captured on surveillance video fleeing the scene, ABC 7 New York reports. Grei Mendez, his wife and the daycare owner, and Carlisto Acevedo Brito, his cousin and a tenant of the apartment out of which the daycare was operated, have been hit with both state and federal charges in the tragedy. Police say Mendez called her husband two times before calling 911 to report the emergency, in which 1-year-old Nicholas Dominici and two other children at the daycare were exposed to fentanyl, the BBC reports. Nicholas died; the two others, as well as a third child who became ill after being picked up from the daycare, were hospitalized but survived.

Police say they are still working to confirm the identity of Mendez's husband, who is considered a co-conspirator in the case. Fentanyl was allegedly found under a mat the children used for napping, and police accuse the trio of distributing the drug out of the apartment. Mendez's lawyer says she did not know there was fentanyl in the apartment. Mendez's husband was allegedly also caught on camera removing several filled shopping bags from the apartment amid the emergency, and police say Mendez deleted 20,000 messages from her phone before she was arrested. Authorities will be able to recover them. City health inspectors had conducted a surprise inspection at the daycare on September 6, but did not identify any violations. It had just opened in January. (More New York City stories.)

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