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Criminal case involving Tyreek Hill is reopened following release of disturbing audio

Criminal case involving Tyreek Hill is reopened following release of disturbing audio
Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill talks to the media after a Jan. 18 workout in Kansas City, Mo. (Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

A criminal case involving suspended Kansas City receiver Tyreek Hill has been reopened the day after a television station aired an audio recording in which Hill and his fiancee Crystal Espinal apparently discuss injuries to their 3-year-old son, Chiefs coach Andy Reid confirmed Friday.

Police were called to the couple’s home twice last month and determined the boy had been injured. On Wednesday, Johnson County Dist. Atty. Steve Howe announced that he would not file charges against Hill or Espinal, even though his office believed a crime had occurred. He said available evidence didn't establish who had hurt the child.

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A day later, KCTV-TV in Kansas City aired part of an 11-minute audio recording from earlier this year in which Espinal is heard telling Hill that when the boy was asked about his injured arm he replied: “Daddy did it.”

Hill denied any role in what happened to the child, saying: “He says Daddy does a lot of things.”

Espinal also tells Hill their son is “terrified of you.”

Hill replies, “You need to be terrified of me too,” adding a vulgarity.

Later, Espinal asks Hill, “What do you do when the child is bad? You make him open up his arms and you punch him in the chest.”

Howe has not responded to requests for comment about the audio recording, which the TV station said has been provided to his office. KCTV said the recording is believed to have been made in March, when the parents were walking through an airport in Dubai. The station said Espinal sent it to at least one friend and it was shared with KCTV “by someone who is concerned about the welfare of the couple's child.”

The Chiefs have suspended Hill while the team looks into the developments. The NFL could also punish Hill under its personal conduct policy.

Several media outlets reported Friday that Overland Park, Kan., police went to the home of Hill and his fiancee, Crystal Espinal, on Thursday night after receiving an anonymous call from someone worried about Espinal. According to the reports, Espinal was fine and officers were at the home for only a short time. A spokesman for Overland Park police didn't immediately return a call from the Associated Press.

Hill's history with Espinal is well known. In 2015, he pleaded guilty to domestic assault and battery by strangulation in an incident involving his then-pregnant girlfriend the previous year. The incident resulted in his dismissal from the Oklahoma State football team and he was put on probation until August 2018. He wound up playing at tiny West Alabama.

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