NEW YORK — Two people face multiple charges, including murder, following the death of a 1-year-old boy at a Bronx daycare.
Grei Mendez, 36, remained silent as she walked out of the 52nd Police Station in handcuffs on Sunday.
Mendez is the owner of Divino Niño Daycare, wherefollowing suspected exposure to opioids. First responders found the babies in cardiac arrest and administered Narcan.
“It’s a tragedy for the children. It’s a tragedy for her because I don’t believe she had any involvement in what happened, so it’s really bad for everyone,” said Andres Aranda, Méndez’s lawyer.
Mendez was arraigned Sunday evening in Bronx Criminal Court and was denied bail. She faces several charges, as does Carlisto Acevedo Brito, 41, cousin of Mendez’s husband.
Mendez rented a room from Acevedo Brito for $200 a month.
In court, officials said a kilo of fentanyl was found in a daycare closet, along with two kilos of presses, used to process the drug. A press weighing a third kilo was found in Acevedo Brito’s room.
At least one surviving child tested positive for fentanyl.
“She just didn’t know. She had rented a room from someone and she didn’t know what was going on,” Aranda said.
Watch Ali Bauman’s report
“I think the way these kids were hurt is something that no one, no one deserves. Not a mother, not a grandmother,” said neighbor Joanne Martinez.
“As a father, you always trust others to take care of your children when you go to work. It’s the last thing you would think could happen to your son,” said neighbor Hailey Rivera.
This weekend, Nicholas’ grieving parents told CBS New York that the daycare was recommended to them by a community center, but it was rumored to be renting rooms.
“If I had known what would have happened,” his mother said in Spanish, “I wouldn’t have taken him there.”
The daycare passed a municipal inspection as recently as this month.
“The city is going to have to step up and go through daily daycares and investigate them because the way things happened there, I don’t think it’s fair,” Martinez said.
The two suspects each face more than 10 charges, including murder, criminal possession of a narcotic and endangering the welfare of a child.
Mendez’s next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday morning. Acevido Brito is expected to be brought to justice soon.
The medical examiner has not yet determined Nicholas’ official cause of death.