ABC News producer Dax Tejera’s official cause of death has been revealed — and it may not be what everyone expected!
As we previously reported, the 37-year-old died on December 23 during a night out to dinner in New York City with his wife Veronica Tejera (above, left inset) and friends while their two kids were left alone in a hotel room. ABC News President Kim Godwin initially reported in a note sent to staff that Dax passed away “suddenly of a heart attack.” However, it turns out that wasn’t the case!
According to The Sun on Wednesday, Dax actually died from choking while intoxicated — and not from a heart attack! The New York City Medical Examiner’s Office revealed the This Week with George Stephanopoulos producer’s cause of death was “asphyxia due to obstruction of airway by food bolus complicating acute alcohol intoxication.” His manner of death was ruled as an “accident.”
For those who don’t know, a food bolus is basically a mass of food and saliva from chewing and typically moves down the esophagus to the stomach. According to the National Institutes of Health, people can experience the feeling of squeezing in their chest during a food bolus impaction — which can be hard for someone to differentiate from heart attack pain. Perhaps this is why it was initially believed Dax suffered from a heart attack?
As for what happened that night, sources previously shared with the New York Post that Dax and Veronica were out with friends at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse in Midtown on the night of his death. An employee told the outlet that Dax appeared “unwell” at the time, adding:
“So before anyone ate, just after the server brought the orders, he asked: ‘Are you OK sir?”
When the producer left the establishment, he collapsed on the ground outside and was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival. Awful.
Then, complicating this tragedy further, his wife was arrested and charged with child endangerment just hours after he died! While the parents were out for dinner, Veronica allegedly left their two-year-old daughter and five-month-old daughter alone in their room at the Yale Club — which was a block away from the restaurant.
After Dax collapsed at the place, she went with her husband to the hospital and sent a friend and her parents to get their two children. However, workers at the hotel called the cops about some “unattended children,” and police discovered “a two-year-old female and a five-month-old female were left alone inside of a hotel room for an extended period of time.” The kids reportedly were alone in the room for at least two hours!
Veronica was arrested and charged with two counts of “acting in a manner injurious to a child” that day. Later, she issued a statement about the legal matter and insisted she was watching her daughters with a camera:
“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. 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 realize that it was a poor decision.”
This was already a precarious situation — sure, the kids weren’t far away, and she had the defense that she was monitoring them. But also, it seems they were a bit far in case of emergency, which is exactly what happened. And now, to learn Dax actually died partially due to how much alcohol he’d had? It’s not going to look good for her case that they were drinking so much without someone clear-headed to watch the kids.
Reactions, Perezcious readers? Are surprised by the official cause of death? Let us know in the comments below.
[Image via Dax Tejera/Instagram]