Dax Tejera's Cause of Death Released After ABC Producer's December Passing

ABC News producer Dax Tejera's cause of death was revealed on Feb. 8, more than a month after his death on Dec. 23. He was 37. Tejera choked to death and was drunk at the time, according to the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner's office.

Tejera's cause of death was "asphyxia due to obstruction of airway by food bolus complicating acute alcohol intoxication," the medical examiner's office confirmed to the New York Post. Tejera was the executive producer of This Week with George Stephanopoulos. In her memo to ABC News staff on Christmas Eve, ABC News President Kim Goodwin said Tejera died of a heart attack.

Tejera's wife, Veronica Tejera, was arrested hours after he collapsed. The New York Police Department told the Post on Jan. 2 that an early investigation discovered that the Tejeras left their 2-year-old and 5-month-old daughters in a hotel room alone "for an extended period of time." Veronica was charged with counts of "acting in a manner injurious to a child," police said.

Veronica said in a statement that after her husband collapsed, she took Tejera to the hospital, then called her parents and close friend to watch their children. "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," Veronica said in a statement to the Post.

"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," Veronica continued. She was given a desk appearance ticket and will have to make a court appearance at a later date.

However, sources told the Post that the Tejeras left their children at home to go to a Manhattan restaurant. An employee said Tejera was unwell shortly after they began eating, and a server checked in on him. "So, before anyone ate, just after the server brought the orders, he asked, 'Are you OK, sir?'" the employee said. Tejea then got up and began walking toward the men's room. However, he went in a different direction instead and left through the front door.

A server followed him outside, the Post's source said. "The server said that he collapsed in the corner, right here outside the restaurant," the employee continued. "It was terrible and a terrible shame they left little, little children alone like that."

Tejera worked for Univision's Fusion and NBC News before joining ABC News in 2017 as a senior producer based in Washington, D.C. He began overseeing Stephanopoulos' show in February 2020. Tejera was a graduate of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and earned a history degree at Dartmouth College.

"It's with a heavy heart and great sadness that we share that our friend and colleague, Dax Tejera passed away suddenly of a heart attack last night," Godwin wrote to ABC News staffers in December. "As EP 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."