Chiefs Coach Says An Investigation Regarding Tyreek Hill Has Been Reopened | KBIA

Chiefs Coach Says An Investigation Regarding Tyreek Hill Has Been Reopened

Apr 24, 2019
Originally published on April 27, 2019 1:18 pm

Updated 3:47 p.m. April 26 — Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Friday that it's his understanding an investigation into how wide receiver Tyreek Hill's child was injured has been reopened.

But the Johnson County District Attorney's office had no comment and Hill's lawyers said "we cannot confirm that." Reid did not take any questions about his statement. 

Hill is currently not allowed to take part in team activities, which the Chiefs decided Thursday after KCTV5 aired audio of a reported conversation between Hill and his fiancee and mother of the child, Crystal Espinal, regarding their son's injury.

Earlier this week, DA Steve Howe said the 25-year-old Hill and Espinal would not be charged because there wasn't enough evidence to prove who hurt the child. There is an ongoing child welfare investigation being done by the Kansas Department for Children and Families. 

Howe said he believed a crime was committed, and found the situation "deeply troubling."

"The child has been hurt," Howe said. "So yes, as a prosecutor, as a father of four kids, yes, it frustrates me when someone hurts a child and you can't do anything about it."

Chiefs GM Brett Veach said Thursday night in a news conference that the team was "made aware" of the video "in real time, just like the general public. We were deeply disturbed by what we heard. We were deeply concerned.

On Friday at a news conference introducing a new defensive end who's also had a checkered past, Veach repeated that the team was going to "continue to gather information, evaluate the information" about Hill and "make the right decision when the time is appropriate."

The Johnson County district attorney did not say Wednesday whether the child remained in the parents' custody, only that the child is safe. The Kansas Department for Children and Families spokesman Mike Deines said Wednesday he could not comment.

Hill released a statement through his attorneys Thursday before the audio aired, saying that his son's "health and happiness" is his priority. He also thanked the Chiefs, his attorneys and his agent. The attorneys also commented, saying Hill "cooperated with law enforcement" and "answered questions" for police and DCF.

The background

The investigation began in March. Overland Park police turned it over to the county DA’s office. KCTV5 reported police were called to Hill’s house twice in March, once for suspected battery and earlier for alleged child abuse; charges weren't filed in the latter.

"The police department did everything they could to put together the best possible case for me to review," Howe said.

KMBC reported April 17 that the Chiefs asked Johnson County officials about the investigation before it was reported by the media on March 15.

Asked whether he had been in touch with the Chiefs, Howe said no.

"I have a much higher duty to that child than the Kansas City Chiefs," he said. "That had no bearing on my decision."

Hill was one of the main drivers of the Chiefs’ 12-4 season. But his selection in the 2016 NFL draft was controversial due to a 2015 domestic violence conviction in which he pleaded guilty to punching Espinal, who at the time was his girlfriend and pregnant with their son. The conviction was expunged after he completed probation in 2018.

Last year, the Chiefs cut ties midseason with Kareem Hunt after a video surfaced showing him kicking a woman in the offseason at a hotel. Now with the Browns, Hunt was not charged, but will serve an eight-game suspension in the upcoming season.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

KCUR sports contributor Greg Echlin, Kansas News Service reporter Nomin Ujiyediin and KCUR editor Erica Hunzinger contributed to this report.

Andrea Tudhope is a reporter at KCUR 89.3. Email her at andreat@kcur.org, and follow her on Twitter @andreatudhope.

Copyright 2019 KCUR 89.3. To see more, visit KCUR 89.3.