(USA TODAY) -- A 2-year-old son of Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian
Peterson died on Friday in a Sioux Falls, S.D., hospital, the victim of
alleged abuse by a man dating the boy's mother, police confirmed.
father Nelson confirmed Friday afternoon that the child is Adrian
Peterson's. Peterson met with the media Friday, hours before the boy
passed away, and said at the time he still planned to play in Sunday's
game against Carolina, but declined to get into details about the case.
really appreciate all the support that I've been receiving from fans,
the Vikings organization," said Peterson, who was excused to miss
Thursday's Vikings practice before returning Friday. "This is a private
matter and I would ask you all to please just respect my privacy and not
ask at all about the situation at hand."
Police arrested Joseph
Robert Patterson, 27, who was initially charged with aggravated assault
and aggravated assault on an infant. Sioux Falls police said additional
charges are being considered.
Patterson has a prior domestic abuse
record with a different woman and child, having pleaded guilty to
simple assault in an incident last year involving an adult female and
Sioux Falls police said Patterson recently started a
relationship with the mother of the 2-year-old victim. Patterson
appeared in court Friday morning in Canton, S.D. His bond had been set
at $750,000 in cash before the boy's death.
The incident occurred
in Patterson's apartment, where the boy had recently moved with his
mother. Patterson called 911 on Wednesday evening to report a choking at
the Platinum Valley apartment, but Lt. Blaine Larsen of the Sioux Falls
Police Department said it became clear at the hospital that the boy's
injuries were not accidental.
Sioux Falls police said the incident was initially reported as a medical emergency.
officers and first responders got there, they found child was
unresponsive and he was taken to the hospital," police spokesman Sam
Clemens told USA TODAY Sports. "So they ended up calling police about
that or letting them know. We had detectives talk to quite a few people
to try to figure out what happened. What they ended up finding was that
when the injuries happened there was one person with that child, and
that person was Joseph Patterson."
"The injuries they found were
head injuries," Clemens said. "It was obvious to medical staff that
abuse had taken place and that those injuries weren't accidental."
Clemens said police believe the child's mother was "gone for a short time, and that's when we believe the injury occurred."
the aftermath of Patterson's latest arrest, the Lincoln County
prosecutor's office on Friday filed motions to order Patterson to serve
two year-long sentences that had been suspended in two prior domestic
cases - one for the simple assault case and another for violating an
order to stay away from the victim in that case. Those motions will be
heard later this month.
Court records show that Patterson has a
son with another Sioux Falls woman, and also show that the mother had
asked for protection orders twice, claiming he'd choked and punched her,
threatened her with a knife and held her in the bedroom against her
The mother chose not to pursue permanent protection orders, which ultimately were dropped voluntarily in 2010 and 2011.
2012, Patterson was charged with simple assault against the mother,
however, and was ordered to undergo family violence training and to stay
away from her until completing it.
Patterson's child lives with his mother, who declined to comment Friday morning when reached by The Argus Leader.
Another woman applied for a protection order against Patterson in 2004 in Jackson County, where he attended high school.
coach Leslie Frazier, speaking before news of the child's death, said
Friday that it would be up to Peterson whether he plays this week.
see how things go with him," Frazier said. "We expect him to play, but
this is a very personal situation that he's dealing with."
Vikings running back Toby Gerhart said many players had reached out to Peterson.
consider each other family and brothers. It's clichéd and everybody
says, 'We've got each other's back' when we go on a football field, but
when something like this happens, it's truly a testament of being a
teammate and how tight this family is," Gerhart said.
"It's a tough situation. We all reached out to him yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."
Peterson, meanwhile, said football helps get him through tough times.
plan on playing Sunday," he said. "I will be playing Sunday, correct
that. I'll be ready to roll, focused. I'm worried about getting a W on
Sunday, being 1-0... You know, football is something I will always fall
back on. It gets me through tough times. Just being around the guys in
here, that's what I need in my life, guys supporting me and just being
able to go out and play this game I love. Things that I go through, I've
said a thousand times, it helps me play this game to a different level.
I'm able to kind of release a lot of my stress through this sport, so
that's what I plan on doing."
Sean Jensen contributed to this
report. Information from the Sioux Falls, S.D. Argus Leader, a Gannett
news outlet, was included in this report. Follow sports writer Brent
Schrotenboer on Twitter @Schrotenboer. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org