Following the shocking fentanyl-related death of a one-year old at a Kingsbridge day care center earlier this month, a fourth suspect in the case has been arrested.
On Monday, the NYPD arrested 38-year-old Renny Paredes in connection to the drug operation run out of Divino Niño Day Care in Kingsbridge that killed one child and hospitalized three others due to fentanyl exposure. He was charged with conspiracy to distribute narcotics, the New York Times reported.
The following day, Felix Herrera Garcia, who had been on the run since the incident occurred on Sept. 15, was arrested in Mexico. He was believed to be heading for the Dominican Republic, as previously reported by amNewYork.
Herrera Garcia is the husband of Divino Niño Day Care owner Grei Mendez, 36, who was arrested the day after the incident.
Paredes’ and Herrera Garcia’s arrests mark the third and fourth individuals who have been charged in the case.
The NYPD had initially responded to an emergency call on Sept. 15 pertaining to multiple unresponsive children inside the day care center, located at 2707 Morris Ave.
Upon arrival, police officers discovered three children between the ages of eight months and two years old — each of them unconscious and unresponsive and transported to Montefiore Medical Center, while a fourth child was also taken to BronxCare Health System.
One-year-old Nicholas Dominici was later pronounced deceased at Montefiore.
According to amNewYork, Herrera Garcia was caught on video footage leaving the day care center carrying bags of fentanyl, just before police responded to the scene.
The next day, Mendez, along with 41-year-old Carlisto Acevedo Brito, who rented a room from Mendez within the day care, were both arrested for running a drug operation through the facility.
In total, Mendez and Acevedo Brito were charged with 56 counts, including murder, criminal possession of a controlled substance/narcotic drug and endangering the welfare of a child — the duo are being charged federally.
Following the two initial arrests, NYPD detectives executed a search inside the day care on Wednesday, Sept. 20, as part of the ongoing investigation. Police eventually located a trap door beneath the floor of the play area, which led to findings of additional fentanyl, along with other narcotics and drug paraphernalia.
Defense attorney Clay Kamisky, who was assigned to represent Paredes, issued a no comment when reached by the Bronx Times via email.
Investigators had inspected the day care center earlier in the month but found no violations, according to amNewYork.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug typically used for treating severe pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fentanyl is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
“We’ve just become so screwed up as a society and we got to get our acts togethers,” NYC Mayor Eric Adams said about the tragedy at an unrelated briefing following the tragedy. “I don’t know what’s wrong with us — we had fentanyl in a day care center.”
The Bronx Times reached out to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Southern District of New York, for more information regarding Paredes and is awaiting response.
Reach Steven Goodstein at [email protected] or (718) 260-4561. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes