A 2-year-old boy who was reportedly the son of Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson died Friday of injuries he suffered after allegedly being abused, police said. 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. Soon after the news came out of the boy’s death, Adrian Peterson took to Twitter to express his gratitude to his family, fans and the “fraternity of brothers” in the NFL for their support.
“God Bless everyone and thank u so much,” he wrote.
Patterson called authorities about 5:45 p.m. Wednesday to a report that a 2-year-old was choking in his Sioux Falls apartment, police spokesman Sam Clemens said. Officers arrived to find that the toddler was unresponsive, and he was rushed to a nearby hospital.
Authorities determined that the child had suffered injuries to his head consistent with abuse, according to Clemens. Police said Patterson, whom they described as the boyfriend of the injured child’s mother, was the only other person in the residence at the time.
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.
The 2-year-old’s mother is not under investigation, Clemens added.