ABC producer choked, died after becoming intoxicated
When ABC News executive producer Dax Tejera died two days before Christmas, his death was initially believed to have been caused by a sudden heart attack.
Now, however, it has been revealed that Tejera didn't die from a heart attack, but rather from choking on food while highly intoxicated, the Daily Mail reported.
Additionally, it has also been confirmed that Tejera's wife, Veronica, was arrested by the NYPD that same night, not for having anything to do with her husband's death, but instead because the couple had left their two young children unattended in a hotel while they drank and dined.
Choked to death while drunk
At the time of Tejera's death, The Hollywood Reporter had shared that ABC News had claimed that the 37-year-old veteran producer had passed away suddenly from a suspected heart attack.
Tributes from colleagues and friends quickly poured in and messages of support and condolences were extended to his wife and children.
Yet, the Daily Mail has reported that according to the New York City's Office of Chief Medical Examiner, Tejera's cause of death has been determined to be "Asphyxia due to obstruction of airway by food bolus complicating acute alcohol intoxication."
Tejera is reported to have collapsed on a New York City street after he and his wife dined at an upscale steakhouse known as Bobby Vans, and wife Veronica is reported to have ridden in the ambulance with him to Bellvue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the Daily Mail.
The couple, who lived in Maryland, had been in the Big Apple for the Christmas holiday and were staying at the exclusive Yale Club, where their two-year-old and five-month-old children had been left unattended while the parents were out on the town.
The wife, who is a senior producer for The Washington Post, claimed to have been monitoring the children through cameras set up in the hotel room, and further asserted that she had attempted to send friends and her parents to the hotel to care for them while she rode with her husband to the hospital in the ambulance.
The young children were never picked up, though, and the hotel called the police, who ultimately arrested Veronica and charged her with two counts related to child endangerment.
The news about Veronica Tejera's arrest had already been leaked, according to a Dec. 30 report from Variety, which cited sources within the NYPD as stating that she had been charged with "acting in a manner injurious to a child" and investigators quickly determined that "a 2-year-old female and a 5-month-old female were left alone inside of a hotel room for an extended period of time."
She was released from custody shortly thereafter, albeit with a desk ticket that ordered her to appear in court for a hearing at an undisclosed date.
Grieving widow acknowledged "poor decision" to leave children alone
Tejera did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Variety, but did release a statement a few days later to Entertainment Tonight in which she acknowledged that she had made a "poor decision" with regard to her children.
"My family and I are devastated by Dax’s sudden passing," Tejera said. "He has left behind a heartbroken family, and two daughters he loved with all his heart."
"When Dax collapsed on December 23rd, I accompanied him in an ambulance to the hospital. I asked both a close friend and my parents to rush to my children’s hotel room to attend to them as I monitored them by camera. The hotel would not allow my friend in and instead called the NYPD," she explained.
"We had two cameras trained on my children as they slept, and I monitored them closely in the time I was away from them," Tejera continued. "While the girls were unharmed, I realize that it was a poor decision."
She added, "Our family has suffered a terrible tragedy. I respectfully ask for privacy while my children and I mourn Dax’s death."