Tyreek Hill: Another Domestic Abuse Charge, Broke Son’s Arm

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A Kansas county prosecutor declined to charge Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill or his fiancee with a crime Wednesday in a domestic incident that involved their 3-year-old child.

Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe acknowledged that "we believe a crime has occurred, however, the evidence in this case does not conclusively establish who committed this crime."

Police were called to the Kansas City-area home of Hill and Crystal Espinal twice last month, and investigators determined their child had been injured. Howe said the child was placed in protective care and that there will be "a continued involvement by state officials."

"I can't talk about the child, its placement or what is going on in that matter. What I can say is the child is safe," Howe said. "We want to hold people accountable that hurt children, but there are other mechanisms for us to protect that child other than filing criminal charges."

The Chiefs said in a statement: "This afternoon we were informed that Tyreek Hill will not be charged by the Johnson County District Attorney's Office. Due to the continued investigation by the Department for Children and Families, we will have no further comment at this time."

The NFL did not respond to a request for comment on the case when asked by NFL.com.

Hill is a two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver with a history of domestic violence issues, including a case in which he was accused of punching Espinal while he was at Oklahoma State. Hill was kicked off the football team there and landed at a small school in Alabama, where he became a fifth-round pick of the Chiefs.

Hill has blossomed into one of the league's elite playmakers, and had largely stayed out of trouble until this past month, when authorities were called to his home twice in a nine-day span.

"As a prosecutor, as a father of four, yes, it frustrates me when someone hurts a child and you can't do anything about it," said Howe, adding that the investigation took several additional weeks as he waited for police to conduct follow-up work. "One of the elements of a crime is you have to prove who that person is who committed the act."

Howe said that it was ultimately impossible to determine who injured the child.

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One day after a district attorney in Kansas declined to press charges against all-pro Kansas City Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill and his fiancée related to a child abuse investigation, audio has emerged that a local TV station alleges implicates both parties.

On Thursday, KCTV5 aired excerpts of an 11-minute audio recording of a conversation allegedly between Hill and his fiancée Crystal Espinal. In the audio, a female is heard confronting a male over the alleged abuse of the pair’s 3-year-old son, an incident that allegedly resulted in a broken arm for the child.

USA TODAY Sports is attempting to verify whether the audio is authentic and who is speaking in the recording. 

USA TODAY Sports also has reached out to the NFL, the Chiefs, Johnson County District Attorney Stephen Howe's office, Hill's attorney, Trey Pettlon, and Espinal. None of the parties have responded.

Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said Hill was barred from team activities "for the foreseeable future."


"We were deeply disturbed by what we heard. We have deep concern for Crystal, and are concerned for Tyreek, but we have real concern for the child," Veach said in a statement. "We are going to continue to gather information and we will make the right decision."

KCTV5 said in a story posted to its website the station was sent a copy of the recording the station believes is from early March. The station also said it was told the recording was an “insurance policy” for Espinal and added that it sent Howe a copy of the recording.

Throughout the recording, a male voice repeatedly denies physically abusing a male child.

“I didn’t do nothing,” the man says. “That’s sad. That’s sad, bro.”

“Then why does he say ‘Daddy did it’? Why?” the woman responds.

“He says Daddy does a lot of things,” the man says.

“A 3-year old is not going to lie about what happened to his arm.” .

At another point in the recording, she tells him: “He is terrified of you,” speaking of their son. “And you say that he respects you, but it’s not respect.”

“He respects me.”

“He is terrified of you,” she responds.

“You need to be terrified of me, too, (expletive),” he tells her. “That’s why you can’t keep a (expletive) man.”

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) during the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium.

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) during the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. (Photo: Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports)

Howe said Wednesday that his office was “deeply troubled” and that they “believe that a crime has occurred” but that the evidence couldn’t “conclusively establish who committed this crime.”

While the criminal investigation was closed, the child protection case is ongoing.

At another point in the audio, the woman says: “You make him open up his arms and you punch him in the chest. And then if he gets in trouble, you get the belt out.”

The man responds,  that she also uses a belt to discipline the child, a charge she denies.

“I rode for you against that detective and (child protective services),” the woman says.

In an interview with ESPN just before the NFL Draft began Thursday night, Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about the Hill case.

“Well, you should wait and get the facts,” Goodell said. “That’s the first thing you should do. They don’t have any information that they’re willing to share with us. When you get the facts, then you make a decision about how it fits into our personal conduct policy, but you don’t rush to judgment and you don’t make a decision without having those facts.”

Hill and Espinal lost custody of their son, per multiple reports, after Overland Park (Kansas) police started investigating two incidents that took place at the home Hill shares with Espinal. 

USA TODAY Sports obtained two police reports, dated March 5 and March 14. The first report is listed as a “child abuse / neglect” case with no victim, while the second is a “battery” incident in which the lone victim listed is a juvenile.

In December 2014, Hill allegedly choked and punched his now-fiancée while he was a student at Oklahoma State University. The program eventually dismissed him from the football team. In August 2015, he pleaded guilty to domestic violence and battery by strangulation.

After Hill completed a three-year probationary period, the conviction was dismissed from his record.

Hill, 25, had a breakout campaign in 2018 for the Chiefs, catching 87 passes for 1,479 yards and 12 touchdowns. He added one rushing score and one punt return touchdown.

Contributing: Jori Epstein

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Angie Ricono of KCTV5 reports the criminal case against Tyreek Hill and his fiancee Crystal Espinal for alleged child abuse has been reopened following the release of new audio Thursday.

Police had been investigating Hill for allegedly breaking his three-year-old's arm. Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe announced Wednesday that his department would not pursue criminal charges against Hill due to lack of evidence, but Thursday's audio leaked by CBS Kansas City made them decide to reopen the case. In the 11-minute recording, the wide receiver seemingly incriminates himself while also threatening his fiancee. GM Brett Veach said Thursday that Hill would not be present for team activities while the Chiefs looked into his abuse allegations, but it's time for them to take a much stronger stance. We'd be surprised if Hill made it through the weekend with his roster spot intact and it's quite possible the troubled wideout has played his last NFL down.

Apr 26, 2019, 3:23 PM

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