Child dies from suspected drug overdose
The fentanyl that killed a one-year-old child at a nursery in New York City was hidden in the nap room under a mat as he slept, police say.
Nicholas Dominici, who had been at the nursery for just a week, died of a suspected drug overdose on Friday, BBC reports.
Three other children were admitted to the hospital after being exposed to the powerful narcotic at the daycare centre in the Bronx.
Drug conspiracy and murder charges have been filed against two people. Police believe the children, ranging in age from eight months to two years old, inhaled fentanyl at the nursery.
Three children were given Narcan, an emergency medication used to reverse opioid overdoses.
Otoniel Feliz, Dominici's father, was quoted by ABC as saying that he is still processing the death of his young child.
"I love him, I miss him, and I want him back," Mr Feliz said. "But there's nothing that will give me back my son".
A search of the nursery turned up one kilo of fentanyl that was discovered "underneath a mat where the children had been sleeping earlier", said NYPD Chief Detective Joseph Kenny on Monday.
Investigators also allegedly discovered three presses used to package kilos of drugs.
The owner of the Divino Nino nursery in the Bronx, Grei Mendez, 36, and her tenant, Carlisto Acevedo Brito, 41, are facing federal charges of narcotics possession "with intent to distribute resulting in death and conspiracy to distribute narcotics resulting in death", according to federal prosecutors.
"We allege the defendants poisoned four babies and killed one of them because they were running a drug operation from a daycare centre," Manhattan US Attorney Damien Williams said on Tuesday.
"A daycare centre - a place where children should be kept safe, not surrounded by a drug that can kill them in an instant."
Police say the drugs recovered from the nursery could have killed 500,000 people.
Fentanyl, a synthetic painkiller 50 times more powerful than heroin, has been blamed for a rise in US drug deaths.
Surveillance footage and phone records show that Ms Mendez called her husband several times after finding the children ill - before she contacted 911. Her husband then arrived and removed several full shopping bags from the nursery, officials said.
Ms Mendez also allegedly deleted approximately 20,000 text messages from her phone before her arrest, according to prosecutors. Authorities were later able to recover them.