Story behind ABC producer who died while leaving kids in NYC hotel takes a major turn

ABC News executive producer Dax Tejera reportedly did not die of a heart attack the way the network claimed previously, but instead choked to death while inebriated as he and his wife left their children alone in a New York City hotel room.

His shocking and untimely death at the age of 37 was splashed across the headlines. Tejera died two days before Christmas while spending the holidays in New York City with his family.

ABC News President Kim Godwin had previously sent out a memo to staff that claimed the “This Week” executive producer had “passed away suddenly of a heart attack,” leaving behind his wife and two young children.

The Daily Mail reported on Wednesday that Tejera actually “choked on food due to being intoxicated,” according to the New York City’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner. However, that assertion is also being contested by some.

Just as disturbing as the inconsistency of his reported death are the circumstances surrounding the sad event.

“The official cause of death was given as: ‘Asphyxia due to obstruction of airway by food bolus complicating acute alcohol intoxication,’” the Daily Mail reported.

The couple was dining out at an expensive New York City steakhouse called Bobby Van’s in Manhattan with friends when tragedy struck as their two-year-old and five-month-old were allegedly left alone for at least two hours at the nearby Yale Club.

An employee at the restaurant said Tejera seemed unwell shortly into the meal, which prompted a server to check on him, according to the New York Post.

“So, before anyone ate, just after the server brought the orders, the server asked, ‘Are you OK, sir?’”

The producer then “got up and started walking like he was going to the men’s room, but he made a right instead and went out the front door and the server followed him outside.”

“The server said that he collapsed in the corner, right here outside the restaurant,” the employee told the media outlet. “It was terrible and a terrible shame they left little, little children alone like that.”

The producer was rushed to Bellevue Hospital after the incident but was pronounced dead on arrival. His widow, Veronica Tejera, 33, traveled in the ambulance with her husband while the couple’s friends reportedly went to the Yale Club to collect the children. But the establishment wound up calling the police when they found out the children were left alone in their room.

(Video Credit: ET)

Tejera’s wife, who is a senior producer at The Washington Post, was arrested hours after her husband passed away and was charged with child endangerment when it was discovered that the couple left their two young children unattended in a hotel room for two hours.

Veronica Tejera admitted the couple made a “poor decision” to leave the two young children alone in the hotel room. She attempted to justify leaving them by asserting that there were “two cameras’ monitoring the children as the couple ate dinner.

She was charged with two counts of “acting in a manner injurious to a child.” The children, who were unharmed, were left with their grandmother, according to the Daily Mail. The mother was eventually released from custody early the next morning.

The New York Post is reporting that Tejera pushed back against the charges, claiming she brought her husband to the hospital and then asked her parents and a close friend to watch their children while she monitored them by camera.

“The hotel would not allow my friend in and instead called the NYPD,” she asserted in a statement after her arrest.

Sources contest her account, according to the New York Post.


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