1 Child Dead, 3 Hospitalized After New York City Daycare Incident Involving ‘Opioid Exposure’

A 1-year-old is dead and three other young children remain in the hospital after drug paraphernalia was discovered at a Bronx daycare.

At a press conference Friday night, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban and NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny provided an update on the ongoing investigation into the incident that occurred Friday afternoon.

Adams announced that four children attending the Divino Niño nursery school “appeared to have come in contact with an opioid that resulted in the hospitalization of three children and one child DOA – died – from this interaction.”

Kenny provided more details, sharing that the NYPD “received an emergency response for three unconscious children” at 2:43 p.m. Friday.

“All three children were unresponsive and showing symptoms of opioid exposure,” Kenny said during the news conference. “Narcan was administered to all three children in an attempt to save their lives.”

In a statement shared with PEOPLE, the NYPD identified the children as an 8-month-old girl, a 1-year-old boy and a 2-year-old boy.

The NYPD confirmed that the 1-year-old, identified as Nicholas Dominici, was pronounced dead at Montefiore Medical Center, where all three children were taken for treatment.

The two-year-old boy is still in critical condition, and the eight-month-old girl is stable, according to the press release.

During Friday’s press conference, Kenny also said another young child at the Divino Niño nursery school was suffering from similar symptoms.

“We learned that another child — male, 2 years old — was taken from the same kindergarten earlier that day, at 12:15 p.m. When she returned home, the child’s mother noticed that the child was acting lethargic and unresponsive. He was taken to BronxCare Hospital, where he was given Narcan and his life was saved,” Kenny said.

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The boy is also in stable condition, according to the NYPD.

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After the 911 call, the daycare was searched by the NYPD, and officers discovered a pound press, which Kenny described as “an item commonly used by drug dealers when they package large amounts of drugs.”

The investigation is ongoing, Kenny said.

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Officials also addressed the daycare’s clean history of health violations.

dr. Ashwin Vasan, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said no violations had been found since the daycare opened in January, calling it a “home-based childcare facility.”

Vasan said that, as a father, “my heart is breaking tonight,” before providing more information about the dangers of opioid exposure.

“A young child, not someone we would think would be at risk of interacting with opioids, came into contact with a powerful substance,” he said. “Which can — either through inhalation, ingestion or skin contact — intoxicate the recipient. We don’t know what happened in this case, and as the chief said, the investigation is ongoing.”

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NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban also spoke at a news conference and expressed his condolences to the families affected by Friday’s incident.

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“Tonight is every parent’s worst nightmare,” he said. “Our children are a gift from God to this world. They are innocent, we must always protect them. As a father, I can tell you, my children are my heart. And my heart is heavy this evening.”

Caban continued: “I don’t know exactly what happened to those babies. My chief of detectives, Joe Kenny, is leading the investigation and will give us those answers.”

He concluded: “There is one thing I do know, and that is: we shouldn’t be here. These kids don’t deserve this.”

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ABC7 News reported that the children had something to eat around 1 p.m. and then took a nap. When the workers tried to wake them up around 2:30 p.m., the three children were unconscious.

As for Dominici, the paper reported that an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of his death. Urine and blood samples will also be taken from three other children to determine what type of drugs they were exposed to.

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