A man has been arrested for alleged physical abuse that led to the death of NFL running back Adrian Peterson’s two year old son. Joseph Robert Patterson, 27, was arrested Thursday night in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Patterson is being charged with aggravated battery of an infant and aggravated assault. According to a report from CNN, Patterson could face up to 40 years in prison and $80,000 fine if convicted of these charges, which are both felonies.
Officials said that Patterson called police on Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. because the boy was choking in his apartment. Responders arrived and rushed the unresponsive child to a nearby hospital.
Police later determined that the boy had suffered head trauma consistent with physical abuse. Patterson, who is the boyfriend of the child’s mother, was the only adult home at the time.
Prosecutors are considering filing more charges against Patterson now that the boy, who has not been named, has died.
Patterson has a history of domestic violence. He was given suspended sentences about a year ago for domestic assault and violation of a domestic abuse bond. His bail is currently set at $750,000 cash.
Many of Peterson’s teammates and competitors, including Robert Griffin III and J.J. Watt, reached out to him online upon learning of his son’s death.
“I am thankful for the tweets, phone calls and text messages from my fellow players,” Peterson said on his Twitter page. “God Bless everyone and thank u so much.”
Peterson went on to say that his other son, Adrian Jr., has not been harmed.
Peterson, who was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player last season, did not practice with the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, but returned to practice on Friday and stated that he plans to play on Sunday in their game against the Carolina Panthers.
“Football is something I will always fall back on," he said. "It gets me through tough times. Just being around the guys in here, that's what I need in my life.”