American ABC news producer Dax Tejera and his wife left their two young daughters alone in their room at a New York members-only club to go out with friends at a nearby steakhouse – before suddenly collapsing and dying of a heart attack , sources told The New York Post.
His widow Veronica Tejera, 33, was arrested just hours later on Dec. 23 and charged with child endangerment for leaving the five-month and two-year-old girls unattended at the Yale Club at 50 Vanderbilt Ave, police said .
The mother said in a statement that when her husband collapsed, she accompanied him to the hospital and asked her parents and a close friend to look after the children – “as I monitored them on camera”.
Claiming the hotel wouldn’t let her friend in, she called the NYPD instead.
But sources said the children were left unattended for much longer while the two walked into town at Bobby Van’s 230 Park around the corner from the private club before Dax Tejera, 37, collapsed outside the restaurant.
According to police, the two left their hotel around 8 p.m. to join another couple at the restaurant.
An employee there said the group ordered dinner but “didn’t be here long” before their waiter noticed that Tejera seemed uncomfortable.
“So before anyone ate, just after the waiter brought the orders, he said, ‘Are you alright, sir?'” the employee told the Post on Tuesday.
Tejera “got up and started walking like he was going to the men’s room, but he turned right instead and walked out the front door, and the waiter followed him out,” he said.
“The waiter said he collapsed in the corner right here in front of the restaurant,” the clerk said.
“It was horrible and a horrible shame that they left little, little kids alone like that.”
According to sources, Veronica Tejera asked her friends to check on the children at the hotel while she accompanied her husband to the hospital. Around 10 p.m., the friends were at the hotel — and staff there called 911 after finding out the infants were alone in the room, the sources said.
The NYPD said Veronica was arrested after police received a 911 call about “unattended children” at the Yale Club around 11 p.m. Law enforcement sources said the mother also left her phone in the room.
A rep for Veronica told the Post Tuesday that the couple monitored the children through a remote video system and used Dax’s phone to keep track.
Veronica said in a statement Monday that she monitored the girls via camera while she was away from them.
“When Dax collapsed on December 23, I accompanied him to the hospital in an ambulance. I asked both a close friend and my parents to rush to my children’s hotel room to take care of them while I was monitoring them on camera. The hotel wouldn’t let my friend in and called the NYPD instead,” the statement said.
“We had two cameras on my children while they slept and I kept a close eye on them when I wasn’t with them. Although the girls were unharmed, I realize it was a bad decision.”
She added: “Our family has suffered a terrible tragedy. I respectfully ask for privacy while my children and I mourn Dax’s death.”
Veronica, who lives in Maryland, Delaware, was ticketed to a desk appearance and is expected in Manhattan Criminal Court on January 12.
Dax Tejera, a producer with This week with George Stephanopoulosjoined the Network News team as Senior Producer in 2017 and joined his current show in February 2020.
He previously worked as a researcher at NBC and at Fusion Media Network.
He graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in history and later attended Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
This article was originally published by the New York Post and is reproduced with permission
Originally released as an ABC news producer, Dax Tejera and his wife left kids alone to go to the restaurant before he died: sources