On December 23rd, ABC News producer Dax Tejera and his wife, Veronica Tejera, went out to dinner with friends at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse. In doing so, they left their 2-year-old and 5-month-old daughters unattended in their hotel room at the Yale Club. The couple was gone for an extended period of time.
During their date night, Dax suffered a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital via an ambulance – his wife, Veronica, accompanied him to the hospital. In an unfortunate series of events, Dax passed away later that evening, leaving Veronica without a husband and their two daughters without a loving father.
Just hours after his death, New York Police Department (NYPD) officers responded to a 9-1-1 call that reported two “unattended children” in the hotel room – at this point, it was past 11 p.m. Veronica was later arrested and booked on two counts of child endangerment, according to a spokesperson for the NYPD.
In a statement initially published by Entertainment Tonight on January 3rd, Veronica Tejera finally gave her side of the tragic and unfortunate story. “My family and I are devastated by Dax’s sudden passing. He has left behind a heartbroken family, and two daughters he loved with all his heart,” her statement began.
She went on to explain how she asked her parents – along with a close friend – to check in on her children in the hotel room while she was on the way to the hospital with her husband. Unfortunately, the hotel wasn’t allowing her close friend into the room and, instead, decided to call the police department.
Her statement also reveals that she was monitoring her children ‘by camera’ as the events unfolded. “We had two cameras trained on my children as they slept, and I monitored them closely in the time I was away from them,” she explained. “While the girls were unharmed, I realize that it was a poor decision.”
Despite her claims that she was monitoring her children closely, the NYPD took a different stance following their preliminary investigation of the incident. Instead, they claim the children were left unattended for an ‘extended period of time’ – even before her husband suffered the tragic heart attack.
Veronica Tejera Due in Court on January 12th
This is an incredibly difficult time for Veronica Tejera and her family – who are not only mourning the loss of a loved one but now have criminal charges and a court trial to overcome. As of right now, Veronica is due in Manhattan Criminal Court on January 12th, roughly one week after her arrest made headlines.
In the weeks following her husband’s death, many friends and colleagues have shown their love and support for his dedication to his work and family. Kim Godwin, the President of ABC News, was one of the first ones to send her condolences to the Tejera family in a heartwarming and touching statement.
“As executive producer of This Week With George Stephanopoulos, Dax’s energy, passion, and love for that show, ABC News, and you, shined every Sunday morning. That same love was extended to his precious girls. Our thoughts are with his wife, Veronica, the couple’s two young daughters, and the entire Tejera family,” said Godwin.
Catherine McKenzie, an executive producer at GMA3, praised his work. “Dax and I got on so well because he liked to take big swings — he was able to lead his team to evolve the Sunday morning format and get out of the beltway and really speak to and hear from everyday people around the world,” she said.
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