Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill and his fiancée, Crystal Espinal, have been the subject of numerous concerning storylines this offseason. In particular, the couple became the subject of a child abuse allegation regarding their three-year-old son. As claims surfaced, inquiries have opened and closed and while new information was uncovered, Hill's future in the NFL came into question – especially considering that he already has a history of domestic violence.
The NFL ultimately decided not to suspend or discipline Hill, meaning that the wide receiver will be eligible to attend Chiefs training camp, which opens on Friday, July 26th In light of the decision, SI has compiled a timeline of the events that led up to the decision from the league.
Tyreek Hill Timeline:
• Dec. 11, 2014: Arrested for domestic assault and battery
Hill was arrested for domestic assault and battery, a felony charge, in December of 2014 while at Oklahoma State after punching and choking Espinal, who was then eight weeks pregnant with their son. Hill was dismissed from the Oklahoma State football and track and field teams the following day.
• August 21, 2015: Hill pleads guilty to domestic abuse
Hill received three years of probation after he pleaded guilty on charges of domestic abuse. As part of his plea agreement, Hill attended a 52-week batterer intervention course and was supervised for two years.
• April 2016: Hill drafted by Chiefs despite past charges
Hill enrolled at the University of West Alabama in the fall of 2015 after pleading guilty and was taken by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2016 NFL draft that spring. He was not invited to the NFL combine due to his violent past, but Kansas City still selected Hill in the fifth round.
• August 2018: Felony domestic abuse conviction against Hill dismissed
Upon completion of his probation requirements, the felony conviction against Hill was dismissed in August 2018 and the charge was wiped from his records.
• March 5, 2019: Police called to Hill's home to investigate a report of child abuse or neglect
Police were called to Hill's residence on March 5 to investigate a report of child abuse or neglect involving his three-year-old son with Espinal. Hill's name is directly listed on that report, but the case was closed three days later when the prosecution was declined, according to documents obtained by KCTV5.
• March 12, 2019: NFL requests documents from Overland Park Police
The NFL requested documents from Overland Park police on March 12 asking for any relevant information regarding Hill, Espinal and their son as “it relates to alleged injuries sustained by the couple’s minor child.”
• March 15, 2019: Police called to Hill's home for an alleged battery involving a juvenile
Overland Park Police returned to Hill's residence again on March 15, 2019, to investigate a second incident of suspected child abuse. Hill's name was not listed on the report, which lists the victim as a juvenile, but his address was listed as the location. The alleged incident against the couple's son reportedly resulted in a broken arm. Espinal was listed under "others involved."
• April 19, 2019: Hill, Espinal temporarily lose custody of their son amid allegations of child abuse
Hill and Espinal's temporarily lost custody of their son, who was from their home as part of a ruling in a Child in Need of Care case, which was opened after the criminal investigations began into potential child abuse. The Kansas Department of Children and Families' investigation, which is separate from the criminal investigations, prompted the emergency hearing.
• April 24, 2019: Johnson County District Attorney's office declines to file charges against Hill
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe declined to file charges against Hill and Espinal in the criminal investigation into alleged child abuse. Howe said his office believed that a crime occurred but "the evidence does not conclusively establish who committed the crime." Howe clarified that while the criminal investigation into Hill was closed, the Kansas Department of Child and Family Services child protection investigation was ongoing. The Chiefs said that they were aware of the DA's decision. Both the team and the league reached out to the DA's office for information but Howe said he had not talked to them at the time.
• April 25, 2019: Hill releases a statement calling his son's "health and happiness" his "number one priority."
"I love and support my family above anything. My son’s health and happiness is my number one priority. 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."
• April 25, 2019: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell tells ESPN's Sam Ponder that the league would "wait and get the facts" before "rushing to judgment"
Goodell was asked about the Hill investigation on Thursday, April 25 during ESPN's NFL draft countdown show. The interview came after the Johnson County District Attorney's office declined to file charges against the Chiefs wide receiver in the criminal investigation for child abuse charges, but before the explosive audio clip was released.
• April 25, 2019: KCTV5 releases disturbing audio clip featuring Hill and Espinal discussing potential child abuse, Hill is suspended by the Chiefs
KCTV5 released an 11-minute audio recording that features Hill and his fiancée discussing the controversy around their son's injury and captures Hill threatening to assault Espinal as well. In the clip, Espinal asked Hill why their son said, "Daddy did it," in regards to his broken arm. They also discuss other instances of Hill getting physical with the child and, at one point in the conversation, Hill told Espinal, "You need to be terrified of me, too, b----."
Chiefs coach Andy Reid told reporters that afternoon that the District Attorney reopened the criminal case into Hill and Espinal in light of the audio recording, which KCTV5 turned over to the police after publication.
Kansas City general manager Brett Veach announced that Hill was suspended and "will not be partaking in any team activities," as the investigations are conducted. The team said they were "deeply disturbed and concerned by what we heard" but had not yet made a decision on his future with the Chiefs.
• June 7, 2019: Criminal investigation into Hill is inactive
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe says the criminal investigation into the child abuse allegations was no longer active because he could not prove who injured the child.
• July 19, 2019: NFL decides not to suspend Hill
The NFL concluded its four-month investigation and decided not to suspend Hill under its personal conduct policy. The league issued the following statement: "Over the past four months, we have conducted a comprehensive investigation of allegations regarding Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Throughout this investigation, the NFL’s primary concern has been the well-being of the child. Our understanding is that the child is safe and that the child’s ongoing care is being directed and monitored by the Johnson County District Court and the Johnson County Department for Children and Families. In conducting our investigation, we have taken great care to ensure that we do not interfere with the county’s proceedings or compromise the privacy or welfare of the child in any way. The information developed in the court proceeding is confidential and has not been shared with us, and the court has sealed all law enforcement records. Local law enforcement authorities have publicly advised that the available evidence does not permit them to determine who caused the child’s injuries. Similarly, based on the evidence presently available, the NFL cannot conclude that Mr. Hill violated the Personal Conduct Policy. Accordingly, he may attend Kansas City’s training camp and participate in all club activities. He has been and will continue to be subject to conditions set forth by the District Court, Commissioner Goodell, and the Chiefs, which include clinical evaluation and therapeutic intervention. If further information becomes available through law enforcement, the pending court proceeding, or other sources, we will promptly consider it and take all appropriate steps at that time."