Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill issues statement through lawyers about child abuse investigation

Update: Local television station KCTV-5 aired a recording Thursday that it said captured Tyreek Hill and his fiancee Crystal Espinal talking about the police investigation. The Star’s story about that broadcast is here.

A day after Johnson County’s top prosecutor declined to file charges, but said he thinks Kansas City Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill’s son was hurt, the wide receiver released a statement.

Hill, 25, said he loves and supports his family above anything.

“My son’s health and happiness is my number one priority,” he said in the statement. “I want to thank the Kansas City Chiefs, my attorneys, my agent and my union for supporting me through this.

“My focus remains on working hard to be the best person for my family and our community I can be, and the best player to help our team win.”

Attorneys for Hill released the statement and further commented, saying that their client has maintained from the beginning that he was “innocent of any crime.” The attorneys — Trey Pettlon, Ryan Ginie and Julius Collins — also said Hill has been working with authorities.

“Contrary to some media reports, Tyreek cooperated with law enforcement, waived his Fifth Amendment rights, and answered questions from both law enforcement and DCF (Department for Children and Families),” the attorneys said in the release. “Unfortunately, due to laws related to confidentiality, as much as he would like to, he cannot comment regarding specific allegations.”

News had surfaced in mid-March 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.

Steve Howe, the Johnson County District Attorney, held a news conference Wednesday and announced that the criminal investigation involving Hill and his fiancee Crystal Espinal — the boy’s mother who is also pregnant with twins — was closed and he wouldn’t be filing charges.

But, Howe said, he does believe a crime had occurred. He said he just can’t prove who committed it.

“We are deeply troubled by this situation and are concerned about the health and welfare of the child in question,” Howe said.

DCF has an ongoing child protection case focused on the child, Howe said.

The Star reported last Thursday that Hill’s 3-year-old son recently was removed from the custody of Hill and his fiancee, Espinal. It isn’t clear when the boy was removed, or who he is staying with now.

“I know DCF is involved in this, and I’m going to let DCF handle this the way they handle it, which is not in the public,” Howe said. “What I can assure the public is, he’s safe.”

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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.