Child abuse case against Kansas City Chiefs star Tyreek Hill no longer active

/ CBS/AP

Criminal charges are no longer being pursued against the Kansas City Chiefs star Tyreek Hill, the top prosecutor in Johnson County, Kansas, said Friday. The news comes weeks after troubling audio was released of Hill and his fiancee discussing the circumstances that led to their 3-year-old son's broken arm.

"It is not an active investigation," Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said in an email to the Kansas City Star on Friday. "As in any case, if we receive additional evidence we reevaluate."

Howe said in April he believed Hill and his fiancee, Crystal Espinal, knew their son had been hurt but police couldn't prove it. Howe said at a press conference he believed a crime was committed but did not know who to charge.

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Shortly afterward, CBS Kansas City affiliate KCTV obtained audio of an 11-minute discussion between Hill and Espinal about the boy's injury. In the recording, Espinal asked him, "Why does he say 'Daddy did it'?"

Hill responded, "I don't know. He says Daddy does a lot of things."

"Like what? A 3-year-old is not going to lie about what happened to his arm," Espinal said.

In another part of the audio, Espinal said her son was "terrified" of Hill.

Hill replied back in the recording, saying, "You need to be terrified of me, too, b—-."

After the tape emerged in April, Chiefs coach Andy Reid said the criminal investigation was reopened. Howe did not respond when asked if that was true, but Hill's attorney, Trey Pettlon, said Friday the criminal case has been closed for "quite some time now."

"Obviously there's been some misinformation about that, but it is closed," Pettlon said.

A spokesman for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, Mike Denies, said he could not comment on its ongoing investigation of the couple.

The NFL is investigating the case but Commissioner Roger Goodell said in May it was waiting for permission to interview Hill because the league didn't want to interfere with the child welfare case. The league could punish Hill under its personal conduct policy.

Tyreek Hill runs for a touchdown on Sept. 7, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Maddie Meyer / Getty

The investigation began after police were called to Hill's home twice in March and determined the child had been injured. In the 11-minute audio recording reportedly made by Espinal in an airport in Dubai, she tells Hill when the boy was asked about his injured arm he replied: "Daddy did it."

Hill denied any role in what happened to the child, saying: "He says Daddy does a lot of things."

When Espinal tells Hill their son is "terrified of you," he replies, "You need to be terrified of me, too, bitch."

In a letter sent to the NFL in May, Pettlon denied that Hill ever hit his son and said Hill was willing to cooperate with the NFL investigation. Pettlon noted the recording was made when the couple was considering a separation. He said the couple was undergoing counseling and Hill is "committed to improving his life and becoming the best parent he can be."

The Chiefs drafted Hill even though he pleaded guilty in 2015 to domestic assault and battery for attacking Espinal while he was a student at Oklahoma State. He was dismissed from the Oklahoma State football team and ended up playing at West Alabama, where he underwent counseling sessions and other court-mandated service work.

First published on June 7, 2019 / 7:59 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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