The 2-year-old son of football star Adrian Peterson died Friday after another man allegedly beat the child, authorities say.
Joseph Robert Patterson, 27, of Sioux Falls, S.D., who has dated the child’s mother, remained jailed after his arrest Thursday on $750,000 bail on charges of aggravated assault and aggravated battery on an infant.
Police spokesman Sam Clemens says Patterson called 911 about 5:45 p.m. Wednesday to report that a 2-year-old was choking in Patterson’s apartment, according to CNN.
Found unresponsive, the child was rushed to the hospital and treated for head injuries consistent with abuse, says Clemens.
Lincoln County State’s Attorney Tom Wollman confirmed the death of the child, who had been in critical condition since Wednesday. The boy died at 11:43 a.m. at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls after being removed from life support, Wollman said.
Wollman said he’ll review police and medical reports before making further decisions about criminal charges for Patterson, possibly by early next week. A year ago, Patterson was given suspended sentences for simple domestic assault and violation of a domestic abuse bond, both misdemeanors, says Wollman.
Patterson was the only person in the apartment at the time, and the child’s mother is not under investigation, police say.
Peterson, the running back for the Minnesota Vikings, missed practice Thursday to travel to Sioux Falls for what was called a personal emergency. He returned on Friday and in comments before the child’s death was announced said he would play this weekend.
“I really appreciate all the support from fans and the Vikings,” Peterson said, according to Sports Illustrated. “I ask y’all to please respect my privacy, and not ask at all about the situation.”
Peterson also left a message on Twitter, writing, “God Bless everyone and thank u so much.”
Kind words from fans followed. “I really wish I could give @AdrianPeterson a hug no one deserves to go through somthing [sic] like this,” one person wrote. Others echoed his own words, adding, “Prayers are with you.”