Sioux Falls police have arrested a man for allegedly severely beating the toddler in South Dakota. The mother's boyfriend is in police custody
Joseph Robert Patterson, 27, is expected to be in a Lincoln County courtroom Friday for his arraignment. Patterson was initially charged with aggravated battery of an infant and aggravated assault. Officials say the Sioux Falls police responded to an apartment building where a 2-year-old child was found unresponsive.
The child was rushed to the hospital, where doctors found injuries consistent with abuse, prosecutors said. Police say Patterson is the boyfriend of the child's mother and that Patterson was the only one with the child when the injuries happened. The toddler died Friday afternoon.
"That initial exam, there's information there that the doctors believe that the injuries were consistent with child abuse. They were head injuries. I don't have the exact one or [what] the specific injuries are and waiting on tests to come back. The child is in critical condition and unresponsive," said Sam Clemons, Sioux Falls police.
"This morning my office filed a criminal complaint alleging two charges, aggravated battery of an infant domestic, which is a Class 2 felony charge. A Class 2 felony is punishable by up to 25 years in the penitentiary and/or $50,000 fine. Count two of that complaint alleges aggravated assault domestic. That particular offense is a Class 3 felony and would be punishable up to 15 years in a penitentiary and/or $30,000 fine. The charges could run consecutive to one another, which would be a 40-year sentence," said Tom Wollman, Lincoln County state's attorney. "The defendant was arrested last night as a result of the investigation. It was a probable cause arrest, so there is an accompanying affidavit on file at this time. Mr. Patterson was arrested without incident."
Peterson, a Minnesota Vikings running back, returned to the team after missing Thursday's practice to tend to a personal matter.
Peterson was on the field for stretching with the Vikings on Friday morning. He left for the locker room briefly during special teams drills, which he doesn't participate in, and returned later. The team has not specified Peterson's absence on Thursday.
His father, Nelson Peterson, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that one of Peterson's sons was in critical condition in a hospital in South Dakota.
Peterson is second in the NFL with 421 yards rushing and first in the league with five touchdowns.
The Vikings (1-3) host the Carolina Panthers (1-3) on Sunday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.