American ABC News producer Dax Tejera and his wife left their two young daughters alone in their room at a members-only New York City club to go out with friends to a nearby steakhouse — before he suddenly collapsed and died of a heart attack, sources told The New York Post.
His widow Veronica Tejera, 33, was arrested just hours later on December 23 and charged with child endangerment for leaving the girls, who are five months and two years old, unattended at the Yale Club at 50 Vanderbilt Ave, police said.
The mum said in a statement that when her husband collapsed, she accompanied him to the hospital and asked her parents and a close friend to watch the kids — “as I monitored them by camera”.
She claimed the hotel wouldn’t allow her friend in and called the NYPD instead.
But sources said the children were left unattended for much longer while the two went out on the town at Bobby Van’s 230 Park, around the corner from the private club, before Dax Tejera, 37, collapsed outside the eatery.
According to police sources, the two left their hotel around 8pm to join another couple at the restaurant.
An employee there said the group ordered dinner but “weren’t here long” before their server noticed Tejera seemed unwell.
“So, before anyone ate, just after the server brought the orders, he asked, ‘Are you OK sir?’” the staffer told The Post Tuesday.
Tejera “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,” he said.
“The server said that he collapsed in the corner, right here outside the restaurant,” the employee said.
“It was terrible and a terrible shame they left little, little children alone like that.”
Veronica Tejera asked her friends to go check on the kids at the hotel while she accompanied her husband to the hospital, according to sources. By around 10pm, the pals were at the hotel — and staffers there called 911 after finding out the infants were alone in the room, the sources said.
The NYPD said Veronica was busted after cops received a 911 call at around 11pm over “unattended children” at the Yale Club. Law enforcement sources said the mum had also left her phone in the room.
A rep for Veronica told The Post Tuesday that the couple had monitored the kids through a remote video system and used Dax’s phone to keep tabs.
Veronica said in a statement Monday that she had been monitoring the girls over a camera while she was away from them.
“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,” the statement said.
“We had two cameras trained on my children as they slept, and I monitored them closely in the time I was away from them. While the girls were unharmed, I realise 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.”
Veronica, who lives in Maryland, Delaware, was given a desk appearance ticket and is due in Manhattan Criminal Court on January 12.
Dax Tejera, a producer with This Week with George Stephanopoulos, joined the network news team in 2017 as a senior producer 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 history degree and later attended the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
This article was originally published by the New York Post and reproduced with permission