KINGSBRIDGE, Bronx (WABC) -- The father of a 1-year-old boy killed by fentanyl exposure at a day care center in the Bronx, is speaking out about the incomprehensible loss.
To have the date you welcomed a child and the day you lost him is something you never expect, says Otoniel Feliz, as he held his son Nicholas' funeral card. He said he wouldn't wish this upon anyone.
It's been less than 3 weeks since the 1-year-old died after being exposed to fentanyl at a Bronx day care center. The grief is so fresh Feliz says that just last night, his 7-year-old daughter woke him up crying.
"She had a dream about my son, her brother," Feliz said. "She misses him and wanted him to be with her, it was so real."
Nicholas had only been in the care of Divino Nino on Morris Avenue for five days.
The operators of the facility are facing federal charges of using the day care as a front for a drug mill.
Speaking at the offices of Grant and Longworth, the firm preparing a civil lawsuit, Feliz reacted to the evidence laid out by the feds: the existence of a trap door to hide drugs directly under the area where children played and napped.
"It's infuriating that someone would even think to have something so dangerous as drugs where there are children," Feliz said. "You're not working with animals, these are babies."
Prosecutors say on the day the children were sickened, Grei Mendez allegedly tipped her husband off that police would be on their way, before she called 911.
"Calling her a person is an insult to humanity," Feliz said. "How could you justify prioritizing your dirty business over the lives of four children who were there?"
Felix Herrera Garcia was arrested days later in Mexico. While the criminal case plays out, Feliz's lawyers say they will likely sue the city and the building owner, but New York's wrongful death statute links compensation to career earnings, a hugely limiting factor when the victim is a child.
"Their grief, their emotional anguish, and the loss of a life is beyond just what that person's contribution financially to the family was," attorney Andrew Chan said.
A family that is still devastated.
"Nothing will make you feel satisfied compared to the loss you've suffered," Feliz said.
Feliz is encouraging parents who have children in day care to do their own surprise inspections. He says to drop in unannounced and make sure that the kids are being kept safe.