Court documents revealed more disturbing details in the horrific case of the death of a one-year-old toddler at a Bronx daycare last Friday. The woman who ran the facility allegedly deleted over 21,000 encrypted text messages to her husband immediately after the tragedy.
Charges were filed Tuesday against 33-year-old Grei Mendez, the daycare owner, and 41-year-old Carlisto Acevedo Brito, who was identified as her husband’s cousin. He rented a room in the Kingsbridge apartment where the daycare operated.
Both were charged with the federal crimes of conspiracy to distribute narcotics resulting in death and possession with intent to distribute narcotics leading to death.
The federal complaint alleged that Mendez exchanged roughly 21,500 encrypted texts with a co-conspirator identified as her husband.
Her husband has yet to be charged, though investigators said they are “not done.”
Every text was deleted after Nicholas Dominici was found unresponsive. He later died, and three other small children, including his sister, were hospitalized after apparently being exposed to deadly fentanyl.
— Eric Martin (@EricMar25918091) September 21, 2023
While Mendez was being questioned by authorities, investigators determined she informed her husband that they were asking questions about him and his location.
He apparently instructed her to tell law enforcement that he was working, and she told him he needed to get an attorney.
Investigators reportedly discovered approximately one kilogram of fentanyl in the daycare. The drug was in a taped package holding several thousands of dollars worth of the deadly substance.
It was found in a closet beside stacked mats that the small children napped on.
Mendez insisted that she had no knowledge that the potent drugs were there. However, police also found a pair of press devices that are used by distributors to combine fentanyl with other drugs such as cocaine and heroin.
Drugs and one of the devices were found in a hallway closet next to the apartment where Brito lived. The other press was found in a room adjoining his residence.
Investigators said that, after discovering the children in a state of distress Friday, Mendez made three phone calls before dialing 911. One was to another daycare worker and the other two were to her husband, with whom she allegedly attempted to “cover up” the incident.
After police were notified, more calls were made to her husband. Officials said he arrived, stayed for only two minutes, and left through a back alleyway carrying two shopping bags full of items.
This was all while the children continued to be unresponsive and help had not arrived.