A two-year-old son of Minnesota Vikings running Adrian Peterson died in South Dakota on Friday, according to the Argus Leader and various media reports.
The child passed away in a hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D., about 11:43 a.m. He had been hospitalized in critical condition with head injuries since arriving by ambulance on Wednesday night. The child’s name was not released, but the Sioux Falls Police Department will announce the name of the boy next week, reported the Argus Leader.
Peterson, who is not married, has another son about the same age named Adrian Peterson Jr., and a daughter, Adeja, with a different woman.
The father of the reigning NFL MVP had confirmed earlier in the day that the child had been hospitalized in critical condition. The 28-year-old running back addressed the media after a Minnesota Vikings practice on Friday afternoon but declined to discuss the situation.
“I really appreciate all the support from fans and the Vikings,” said Peterson, who indicated he planned to play in the Vikings’ upcoming game. “I ask y’all to respect my privacy.”
“Thank you to my family, my fans and fans of other teams for their support,” Peterson tweeted soon after the police announcement. “The NFL is a fraternity of brothers, and I am thankful for the tweets, phone calls and text messages from my fellow players.”
Sioux Falls, South Dakota, police said Joseph Robert Patterson, 27, has been charged with aggravated battery of an infant and aggravated assault. If convicted on the charges, both felonies, Patterson could face up to 40 years in prison and an $80,000 fine.
Prosecutors are considering filing additional charges against Patterson in light of the boy’s death, according to police.
According to the CNN report, the suspect – who was given suspended sentences a year ago for simple domestic assault and violation of a domestic abuse bond, both misdemeanors – was arrested Thursday night, said Lincoln County, South Dakota, State’s Attorney Tom Wollman. A judge set his bail at $750,000 cash during his initial court appearance Friday, according to Clemens.
Patterson was the The boyfriend of the child’s mother, hecalled 911 about 5:45 Wednesday to report the child was choking in his apartment, where he had been caring for the boy, authorities said. The child was unresponsive when Sioux Falls Police and EMS arrived.
“This is an absolute tragedy,” Wollman said Friday, “and the parents and the extended family are suffering greatly.”
Wollman’s office filed motions Friday that ordered Patterson to serve year-long sentences in two prior domestic violence cases in which sentence had been suspended.
Dozens of current and former professional athletes wished Peterson well on Twitter, expressing support, offering prayers and voicing disgust about the alleged abuse. “Sick for my friend. Strong guy but this one will bring the strongest down,” tweeted NBA star LeBron James.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he thought Peterson practiced as well as he could Friday considering the circumstance.
“He seems like he was into it, engaged in what he had to get done,” Frazier said. “Obviously, tough. He’s human. But he was into it mentally, best as he could be.”