Recent court records reveal that the woman operating the daycare center where a 1-year-old tragically died from an opiate overdose had deleted over 21,000 encrypted text messages to her husband following the fatal incident.
The daycare owner, Grei Mendez, age 33, along with Carlisto Acevedo Brito, age 41, who rented a room within the same apartment complex the daycare was located in, were charged with two federal offenses.
Mendez and Brito are additionally facing charges of “conspiracy to distribute narcotics resulting in death” and “possession with intent to distribute narcotics leading to death.”
According to the federal complaint, Mendez engaged in approximately 21,500 text messages with a drug co-conspirator, identified by law enforcement as her husband.
All of their text messages had been erased following the infant’s passing.
During her questioning, authorities uncovered that Mendez had informed her husband about their inquiry regarding him and his whereabouts. In response, he instructed her to convey that he was at work and recommended hiring a lawyer.
Authorities are looking for the husband of the Bronx daycare owner facing murder and drug trafficking charges in connection with the shocking death of a one-year-old exposed to fentanyl. @aaronkatersky reports. pic.twitter.com/Q5IvF2i2Ru
— Good Morning America (@GMA) September 21, 2023
Authorities found approximately one kilogram of fentanyl stashed in a closet next to stacked mats used by the children for naps. The illicit drug, worth several thousand dollars, was concealed in a taped box.
Mendez has stated that she had no knowledge of the presence of the highly potent narcotic, which harmed three other young children, including an 8-month-old infant who tested positive for fentanyl. Police also reported discovering two press devices used to mix the drug with other narcotics, with one of the devices linked to Brito’s apartment.
According to prosecution documents, Mendez told the police that she cleaned the Divino Niño Daycare six days a week and that the kilo press discovered at the location “could have been placed there by a previous tenant.”
She also asserted that there were no other visitors at their daycare on Friday, the day of the incident. However, her husband was observed removing suitcases from the establishment just minutes before first responders arrived and earlier in the day.
Prosecutors stated that Mendez had three phone conversations before dialing 9-1-1. One was with a fellow daycare employee, and two were with her husband.
According to court documents, Mendez allegedly made numerous additional phone calls to her husband after the police were called. Her husband arrived at the apartment, stayed for about two minutes and then hastily left through a rear alley carrying two bulging shopping bags while the children were unresponsive and in need of medical care.
If convicted of the federal charges, both Mendez and Brito could be sentenced to life imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum of 20 years.