EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. | A man who played high school sports in Kadoka has been arrested in the death of the son of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
Authorities said a 2-year-old boy died Friday of injuries suffered in an alleged child abuse case in Lincoln County, and a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press the boy was Peterson's son.
Peterson was also in Sioux Falls on Thursday.
Lincoln County State's Attorney Tom Wollman confirmed the death of the child, who had been in critical condition in a hospital with severe head injuries since Wednesday. The boy died at 11:43 a.m. at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls after being removed from life support, Wollman said.
Wollman said he'll review police and medical reports before making further decisions about criminal charges, possibly by early next week.
Joseph Patterson, 27, was charged with aggravated assault and aggravated battery in the child's death. He had a court appearance Friday and was held on $750,000 cash bond.
Patterson was a three-sport athlete at Kadoka Area High School who graduated in 2004 before attending Black Hills State University.
He was an honorable mention Class 9AA all-state football pick in 2002. He finished fourth in the long jump for the Kougars at the 2004 Class B State Track and Field Meet. His jump of 20 feet, 4-1/2 inches is still the school record in the event.
According to his Facebook page, Patterson worked in Sioux Falls as a salesman for the Organo Gold coffee company.
He also has a son from a previous relationship.
According to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, court records show Patterson has a history of domestic violence.
He was indicted in June 2012 on several counts of simple assault involving an ex-girlfriend and her 3-year-old son, and later was charged for violating a no-contact order. He was sentenced to one year in jail for both cases but that time was suspended on the condition he attend domestic violence counseling.
The victim in that case — who is not the mother of the dead child — said in a request for a protection order that Patterson had spanked her 3-year-old so hard for misbehaving in church that he needed ice for welts on his buttocks. When she got angry with him for it, she wrote, Patterson made the children go to their rooms, then pulled the shades, grabbed her by the throat and waved his fist in her face.
He stopped when their infant son began to cry.
“He has (threatened) to kill me multiple times,” she wrote.
The woman asked for temporary protection orders against him twice in Minnehaha County prior to the birth of their son.
A different woman sought a protection order against Patterson in 2004 in Jackson County.
In court on Friday, Lincoln County State’s Attorney Tom Wollman asked a judge to revoke the terms of Patterson’s suspended sentence on the two domestic abuse cases. Judge Stuart Tiede instead set a revocation hearing for Oct. 30.
During bond arguments, Wollman called Patterson a danger to the community and a risk to flee if released on bail. Wollman asked for a $750,000 cash bond, and the judge agreed.
Through an employee at the Minnehaha County Jail, Patterson on Friday declined an interview with an Argus Leader reporter.
Patterson was the only one home with T.R.R. on Wednesday at their apartment in the Platinum Valley complex off Louise Avenue near 81st Street, police said. Patterson and the boy’s mother were in a “fairly recent relationship,” Sioux Falls Police Lt. Blaine Larsen said.
Patterson called 911 at 5:43 p.m. Wednesday to report that the child was choking.
Neighbor Doug Anderson said he saw Patterson frantically greet police and emergency personnel as they arrived in the parking lot.
“I heard him yell, ‘He’s not responsive,’” said Anderson, an Argus Leader employee.
In Minnesota, Peterson declined to talk about the case after practice Friday, and prosecutors and police in South Dakota declined to confirm the boy was his son. However, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed the connection to the AP on condition of anonymity because Peterson had requested privacy.
Speaking to reporters about an hour after the time of death, Peterson said he was certain he'll play Sunday against Carolina.
He smiled politely and spoke softly while taking questions at his locker.
"I'll be ready to roll, focused," Peterson said. "I will be playing Sunday, without a doubt."
Peterson is second in the NFL with 421 yards rushing and first in the league with five touchdowns. He came back from reconstructive knee surgery to rush for 2,097 yards and win the league MVP award last season.
"Football is something I will always fall back on," Peterson said. "It gets me through tough times. Just being around the guys in here, that's what I need in my life, guys supporting me. ... 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."
Later Friday, after news of the boy's death spread, Peterson thanked his family, fans and even fans of other NFL teams for their support.
He tweeted: "The NFL is a fraternity of brothers and I am thankful for the tweets, phone calls and text messages from my fellow players."
Dozens of current and former professional athletes wished Peterson well on Twitter, expressing support, offering prayers and voicing disgust about the alleged abuse.
"Sick for my friend. Strong guy but this one will bring the strongest down," tweeted NBA star LeBron James.
The Panthers, this week's opponent, were sympathetic.
"It's absolutely terrible. Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family, and hopefully things work out," coach Ron Rivera said.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he thought Peterson practiced as well as he could Friday considering the circumstance.
"He seems like he was into it, engaged in what he had to get done," Frazier said. "Obviously, tough. He's human. But he was into it mentally, best as he could be."
Fellow running back Toby Gerhart said: "It's hard for any man to admit that he's hurting or he needs help or anything like that. For us to be around him and tell him we've got his back, if there's anything he needs that we're there for him, I think that goes a long way."