Crime

Tyreek Hill’s son removed from parents’ custody amid battery, abuse investigation

No charges for Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill after investigation

The Johnson County District Attorney said he won't file charges against Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill or Hill's fiancee Crystal Espinal. It was the latest off-the-field development for Hill, who has a history of domestic violence.
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The Johnson County District Attorney said he won't file charges against Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill or Hill's fiancee Crystal Espinal. It was the latest off-the-field development for Hill, who has a history of domestic violence.

The 3-year-old son of Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill recently was removed from the custody of Hill and the boy’s mother, sources have told The Star.

That development comes a month after news surfaced 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, both involved a juvenile. It isn’t clear when the boy was removed, or who he is staying with now.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families would not confirm that the child had been removed. Federal and state laws prohibit the agency from talking about a specific case, a spokesman said.

Sources have told The Star in recent weeks that Hill and his fiancee, Crystal Espinal, have been working through a family court process called a “child in need of care” case. The couple were at the Johnson County courthouse Wednesday.

Generally, child in need of care cases involve the Department for Children and Families and the county court in instances where there are concerns about a family situation. A judge and lawyers representing the parents and the child discuss and make decisions about the child’s safety and care.

In some cases, it can result in a child being removed from a home.

Earlier this week, when players —including Hill — reported for the first day of off-season workouts, Chiefs Coach Andy Reid said he had nothing further to say about the investigation involving Hill.

“I don’t want to make judgment on anything other than he is here and he is working,” Reid said. “If there is anything to comment on, we will always put it out there for you. We are not hiding it.”

Records obtained this week show that the NFL requested documents from Overland Park Police on March 12 asking for any relevant information, including photos and 911 calls, regarding Hill, his fiancee and their young son as “it relates to alleged injuries sustained by the couple’s minor child.” The Star first reported the child abuse investigation into Hill on March 15.

When asked Thursday about Hill, General Manager Brett Veach said there wasn’t much he could say.

“I think it’s going to work itself out here, and we’ll deal with the information as it comes,” Veach said. “Like I said, there’s nothing I’d probably be in a position to say right now on that.”

The Kansas Department for Children and Families said last month that the agency had received a report and was investigating. Contacted earlier this week and asked whether the agency had completed its investigation, a spokesman said he could not comment on the status of a child welfare case.

The investigations involving Hill raise questions about the wide receiver’s future after the Kansas City Chiefs confirmed last month that they were aware of the law enforcement probe. Since he was taken by the team in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Hill has become one of the Chiefs’ — and the NFL’s — most high-profile players while seeming to put his domestic violence history behind him.

Hill pleaded guilty in 2015 to domestic assault and battery by strangulation and received three years probation. He was arrested in December 2014 after he assaulted Espinal, his then-girlfriend who was eight weeks pregnant at the time.

As part of the plea agreement, Hill was ordered to complete 52 weeks of domestic violence prevention classes. He also was fined $500 and ordered to pay restitution and court costs.

The conviction was dismissed in August 2018 and ordered to be expunged after he completed his probation requirements.

Since then, Hill and Espinal have become engaged and share a home in Overland Park.

Hill told The Star at the January Pro Bowl in Orlando that Espinal is pregnant with twins.

The first new police report concerning Hill in Overland Park came with a March 5 investigation of alleged child abuse or neglect.

The front page of that report — the only portion available to the public — listed both Hill and Espinal as “others involved.” The location was listed as their home.

The case was closed three days later when authorities declined to prosecute, according to the report. It would be possible for police to investigate the case again, but a Police Department spokesman declined to say if they did.

Another police report was made March 14, when officers investigated an alleged battery, also at Hill and Espinal’s home.

In this case, it was unclear when the incident was thought to have occurred. The report lists a juvenile as a victim and Espinal, 24, under “others involved.”

For days after being made public, the two police reports raised questions that couldn’t easily be answered and generated confusion when initial news accounts emerged about the incident.

Under Kansas public records law, only the front page of a police report is typically available to the public. It includes the time, date, location and the type of a reported offense, but often little else. Victims’ names are often not disclosed.

The second page of an investigation report contains far more detail — the names of suspects, the type of evidence that was collected, the type of incident that was believed to have occurred — but the document says at the top “NOT AN OPEN PUBLIC RECORD” and is rarely seen by the public.

Overland Park police finished their probe several weeks ago and sent the case to the Johnson County District Attorney’s office. Included in that report was information from DCF’s investigation.

No details have been released about what exactly was reported to Kansas’ child welfare agency and what was included in the investigation.

The DCF investigation has a different focus than that of police. For law enforcement, the goal is to determine if any state laws were violated. But for DCF, the focus is completely on the child and family.

In such cases, where an investigation has been opened, the first goal is to make sure the child is in a safe environment. Once that is secured the agency determines what services the family may need to make sure the child is protected and in a strong environment.

When DCF investigators make a finding on whether the allegation is substantiated, workers make a determination on what is best for the child and if further services are needed.

Reporter Glenn E. Rice contributed to this report.



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Laura Bauer came to The Star in 2005 after spending much of her life in southwest Missouri. She’s a member of the investigative team focusing on watchdog journalism. In her 25-year career, Laura’s stories on child welfare, human trafficking, crime and Kansas secrecy have been nationally recognized.


Brooke Pryor covers the Kansas City Chiefs for the Kansas City Star, where she works to give readers a deeper understanding of the franchise and the NFL through daily stories, game coverage, and player profiles. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and grew up in Winston-Salem, N.C.


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