Cardinals Chiefs Football

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill runs past Arizona Cardinals cornerback Bene’ Benwikere during the first half in 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Johnson County District Attorney’s office announced Wednesday that they have declined to file charges against Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill and Crystal Espinal.

District attorney Steve Howe said they do believe that a crime was committed toward Hill and Espinal’s 3-year-old son but following the investigation, the evidence is not conclusive enough to file charges against the two.

“Like a lot of crimes, it’s a ‘who done it,’” Howe said Wednesday in a press conference. “In many times with child cases, the children can’t necessarily speak for themselves. So that becomes a very difficult situation.”

Police were called to the Kansas City-area home of Hill and Crystal Espinal twice last month, and investigators determined their child had been injured. Howe said the child was placed in protective care and that there will be “a continued involvement by state officials.”

“I can’t talk about the child, its placement or what is going on in that matter. What I can say is the child is safe,” Howe said. “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.”

There is a child protective investigation ongoing, and the son was reportedly removed from their custody earlier this month.

Howe did express his frustration but not being able to file charges.

“One of the things that you have to understand is that there is an even higher level of secrecy that is associated with children’s cases,” Howe said. “It’s because you’re dealing with minors. I have to be very mindful of talking about what we are and are not doing because of the rights of that minor child.”

The Chiefs released a statement Wednesday evening saying they are aware of the decision and will have no further comment due to the ongoing investigation.

Howe reassured that the child is safe but could not go into details about where the child is now. Howe was not able to go into details on what crime they believe occurred because of the the ongoing investigation.

“I can’t really talk about cooperation and frustrations but I can tell you that the police department did everything that they could to put together the best case for me to review,” Howe said.

Hill is a two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver with a history of domestic violence issues, including a case in which he was accused of punching Espinal while he was at Oklahoma State. Hill was kicked off the football team there and landed at a small school in Alabama, where he became a fifth-round pick of the Chiefs.

Hill has blossomed into one of the league’s elite playmakers, and had largely stayed out of trouble until this past month, when authorities were called to his home twice in a nine-day span.

Howe said he has not talked to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The NFL will not be given records of the case. Because there is a current investigation, the records on the case will be sealed.

The decision comes at an important juncture for the Chiefs, who are busy preparing for the start of the NFL draft on Thursday night. They released running back Kareem Hunt 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.

The Chiefs or the NFL could still punish Hill, and the receiver’s long-term future in Kansas City remains in question. 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.

The Chiefs’ first draft pick is not expected until the second round Friday night. The Chiefs traded their first-round pick to Seattle on Tuesday for pass rusher Frank Clark, who was kicked off his team at Michigan after his own domestic violence situation.

John Zetmeir can be reach


Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowZetmeir.