A Washington Post producer was arrested for leaving her two kids, aged five months and two years, in a New York City hotel room unattended in a freakish story with an unexpected twist. Is it always unreasonable to leave children unattended in a hotel room?
Couple Leaves Young Children In Hotel Room To Go Out To Eat. Father Dies Of Heart Attack. Mother Arrested For Child Endangerment.
Dax Tejera, a 37-year-old ABC News producer, and his wife Veronica, a 33-year-old Washington Post producer, were staying at the Yale Club in Midtown Manhattan on December 23, 2022. The Yale Club is a private club with hotel rooms for Yale Alumni.
The two decided to go out to dinner and leave their children (the baby was five months old and the toddler two years old) alone in the room. While dining out, Dax had a heart attack. He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital and died.
Veronica texted her parents to go check on the kids, but when they showed up at the Yale Club, the staff reportedly called the cops instead. NYPD arrested Veronica at around 12:20 am on Christmas Eve, then charged her with two counts of “acting in a manner injurious to a child.” The children were released to Veronica’s mother.
Veronica has since released the following statement about this incident:
“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.
“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.
“Our family has suffered a terrible tragedy. I respectfully ask for privacy while my children and I mourn Dax’s death.”
Feel free to call me horrible, but I just don’t have a problem with the actions of the Tejeras. Veronica was monitoring them constantly on her phone. She was at a restaurant nearby. It was late the kids were sleeping.
Oh, but they could have wandered off. Oh, but they might have injured themselves.
Yes, life is full of risks, and taking a calculated risk does not make you a bad parent.
That said, this world thinks differently (perhaps rightfully so) and although my wife and I have considered it, we will not put our professional licenses in jeopardy by leaving our kids unattended in a hotel room…precisely because of overreactions like this.
I still think the risk is far overblown and I think the reaction is quite pathetic here if the Yale Club called the cops instead of letting a family member or close friend upstairs.
But let this be a lesson to all of us: as tempting as it is, it is simply not worthwhile to leave your young children unattended, especially if you leave the building.
This is really a sad story, primarily because of the unexpected death of 37-year-old Dax, but also because of Veronica’s added trauma of being arrested and booked (trauma the children had to undergo as well). Sometimes, even though we mean no harm, we can find ourselves in trouble. This story is a good reminder that even when tempted and even when we take precautions like leaving FaceTime on, we should not leave our kids alone in a hotel room.
image: @daxtejera / Instagram