Tyreek Hill on explaining himself during NFL draft process
Crystal Espinal filed a petition in Johnson County Thursday seeking to prove that Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill is the father of her newborn twins and establish supervised parenting time for him and child support.
Filed in Johnson County District Court’s civil division, the petition states that the twins were born this month and reside with Espinal. They carry her last name, the court filing said.
The petition was filed to “determine the Respondent’s (Hill’s) paternity of the minor children, to confer and impose upon Respondent all the rights, privileges, duties and obligations accompanying the father/child relationship,” the petition said, “to determine custody and residency of the minor children, to establish an appropriate parenting time schedule and to establish appropriate child support.”
Espinal’s legal counsel is Susanna Coxe, of Safehome, an organization in Johnson County that supports survivors of domestic violence. An email and call to Coxe was not immediately returned Thursday evening.
The filing also states that Espinal and Hill “are not married, never have been married, and do not intend to be married.”
It requests that the court “find that it is in the best interests of the minor children that the Petitioner (Espinal) have sole legal custody and residency of the minor children, that the Respondent (Hill) pay appropriate child support to the Petitioner, and for such other and further relief as the Court deems fair, just and equitable.”
This comes four months after the two were involved in a child abuse probe involving their son who was 3 at the time.
News surfaced in mid-March that Overland Park police took two reports at Hill’s Johnson County home, one for battery and the other for child abuse and neglect. The police reports, dated March 5 and March 14, involved a juvenile.
The Star reported on April 18 that sources said the child was removed from the custody of Hill and Espinal. It isn’t clear if that status has changed.
On April 24, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe held a news conference and announced he would not be filing charges in the case. At that time, Howe said he believed a crime had been committed, but couldn’t prove who did it.
Hill has been suspended from the Chiefs since April 25.
NFL investigators didn’t meet with Hill until late last month. The interview, which took place in Kansas City and lasted eight hours, was conducted by NFL Special Counsel for Investigations Lisa Friel, sources told The Star. Jennifer Gaffney, who works with Friel, was also reportedly present, along with Hill’s legal representation.
During the investigation, the NFL obtained the entire 11-minute audio recording of a conversation between Hill and Espinal, a source told The Star. The audio, recorded by Espinal, was first aired in clips on a local television station on April 25, hours before general manager Brett Veach announced Hill’s suspension.
The full audio, played by 610 AM earlier this week, filled in the gaps of the recording initially played by KCTV-5 in abbreviated clips.
The majority of the new material centered on Hill’s 2014 arrest for domestic abuse by strangulation against Espinal when he was a student at Oklahoma State.
Hill was dismissed from the football team, pleaded guilty to the charge in August 2015 and served three years probation.
But in the audio aired Tuesday, he denied that he harmed her. The conviction was dismissed in August 2018 and was expunged after he completed his probation requirements.
Hill: That 2014 (expletive), that’s old. That’s a lie too. On me, that’s a lie.
Espinal: But you sitting here calling me a bitch and everything else—
Hill: But that’s what you is, bro. You (expletive) ruined my life. You lied on me in 2014.
Espinal: How did I lie about—
Hill: I didn’t touch you in 2014. And put that on everything I love, bro. That’s the real truth.
Later in the recording, Hill continued to deny that he harmed Espinal in the 2014 incident. He also denied that he hurt his son.
Though the criminal investigation is no longer active, Hill and Espinal do have an ongoing case with the Kansas Department for Children and Families. Generally speaking, such cases can take weeks, months or even years for families to receive the services they need.
Espinal also filed a motion Thursday asking the court to seal the paternity case, citing “notoriety and publicity,” which resulted in the sealing of a previous case involving their older child.