Authorities in Kansas announced Wednesday that Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill and his fiancee will not face criminal charges following an investigation of alleged battery on the couple's 3-year-old son.
Johnson County District Attorney Stephen Howe said in a statement that his office believed that a crime had occurred, but could not "conclusively establish" whether the offense had been committed by Hill or fiancee Crystal Espinal.
"Criminal cases must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by admissible evidence," Howe said. "Not speculation, rumors or hearsay." He declined to discuss the case further, citing an ongoing child protection investigation by the state Department for Children and Families.
Police in Overland Park, Kan., reportedly were called to Hill's home twice last month for alleged incidents of battery on the child. The Kansas City Star reported that the second of those incidents resulted in the boy's arm being broken.
On Friday, the Star reported that the boy had been removed from the custody of Hill and Espinal. Howe told reporters Wednesday that "the child is safe," but declined to comment further.
"We want to hold people accountable that hurt children, but there are other mechanisms for us to protect that child other than filing criminal charges," said Howe, who added: "As a prosecutor, as a father of four, yes, it frustrates me when someone hurts a child and you can't do anything about it ... One of the elements of a crime is you have to prove who that person is who committed the act."
Hill pleaded guilty to domestic assault and battery in 2015 after Espinal accused him of choking her and punching her in the stomach while she was pregnant. As part of the plea deal, Hill was given a deferred sentence of three years and his record was expunged. The charges led to Hill's dismissal from Oklahoma State's football team, but the Chiefs selected him in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Since then, Hill has become one of the most explosive receivers in the NFL. He has been voted to the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons and has been named a First-Team All-Pro twice. In 2018, Hill caught 87 passes for 1,479 yards, an average of 92.4 yards per game, and 12 touchdowns as the Chiefs advanced to the AFC Championship Game before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.
The decision on criminal charges does not preclude discipline against Hill by the Chiefs or the NFL. The Star reported last week that league security had sought records from Overland Park police about the alleged incidents at Hill's home. The league did not immediately respond to requests for comment by Fox News Wednesday.
"Today we were informed that Tyreek Hill will not be charged by the Johnson County District Attorney's Office," the Chiefs said in a statement late Wednesday. "Due to the continued investigation by the Department for Children and Families, we will have no further comment at this time."
The Chiefs released running back Kareem Hunt last fall, shortly after a video surfaced showing him pushing and kicking a woman in a hotel hallway, and that precedent made it likely the Chiefs would have made a similar decision had charges against Hill been filed. Hill is entering the final year of his rookie contract and appeared poised to land a massive contract, but the Chiefs could be reluctant to give him that deal now.
Fox News' Ryan Gaydos and The Associated Press contributed to this report.