Community Mourns Son of Adrian Peterson; Suspect in Toddler's Death Has Violent Past

Posted at: 10/11/2013 10:20 AM
Updated at: 10/12/2013 3:23 PM
By: Maricella Miranda

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson’s 2-year-old son has died from injuries suffered during a reported assault by his mother's boyfriend.

Following news of his son's death, several messages were posted on Peterson's Twitter account. "Thank you to my family, my fans and fans of other teams for their support," he stated. "The NFL is a fraternity of brothers and I am thankful for the tweets, phone calls and text messages from my fellow players. God Bless everyone and thank u so much."

On Saturday morning Peterson tweeted: 

Peterson also tweeted Saturday that the boy is not Adrian Jr., his son that lives with him.

Adrian Peterson's father Nelson Peterson confirmed Friday with the Pioneer Press that the boy was the son of Adrian Peterson.

TMZ initially reported Friday that the child was severely beaten by his mother's boyfriend. According to the Sioux Falls police, the boy died Friday afternoon. The boy's name is expected to be released early next week.

Adrian Peterson briefly spoke Friday to news outlets that his son died. Peterson said he appreciated the support from fans and the Vikings staff. "This is a private matter. I'm going to ask you all to please just respect my privacy ...," he said.

Peterson said he would be playing in Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers. "Football is something I'll always fall back on. It gets me through tough times. Being around the guys in here, that's what I need.

"One thing that I always bounce back to is the good Lord never gives you more than you can bare and you can handle," Peterson said. "I'm built tough."

1500 ESPN reports that Peterson was absent from Thursday’s practice for “personal reasons,” according to coach Leslie Frazier. He returned to practice on Friday.

According to a criminal complaint, Sioux Falls police responded to a medical emergency call Wednesday night on the 6200 block of South Connie Avenue. Police say the child was not breathing and was rushed to a local hospital with injuries that were consistent with abuse.

The boyfriend of the child’s mother, identified as 27-year-old Joseph Robert Patterson, was arrested and charged with aggravated battery of an infant and aggravated assault, according to the complaint.

The charges said Patterson either intentionally or recklessly caused bleeding, swelling or damage to the child’s brain. This could have been caused by blows, shaking or hitting the child’s head against an object or surface.

The Lincoln County State's Attorney's Office will be reviewing the case for possible additional charges against Patterson.

Joseph Patterson has History of Abuse

In separate cases, the prosecution has filed a petition to order Patterson to serve two, year-long sentences that had been previously suspended involving separate criminal cases, according to KSFY News, an ABC affiliate in Sioux Falls. The first conviction against Patterson was for a simple assault, and the second was for violating an order of protection involving a victim in the assault case.

Patterson is a man of two halves. On one half he gives off the appearance of a god fearing man who has it all together. On his Facebook page it says, he works at "Organo Gold" Coffee Company as a distributor at Empire Mall, while at the same time owning "Patterson Construction."

His heart and soul as he writes it, is his son from a previous relationship. In one post he wrote "is so tired of reading posts about what people don’t have, to all my family, friends, and people. Let's take a simple moment to give thanks to God for what we do have!” And another says, “always so happy!! my buddy got his hair cut short like his daddy's. Such a cute smile!”

But the other half in these court documents from 2012 paints a darker and angrier Joseph Patterson.

A woman he dated says, he threatened to kill her many times. But in an incident in June of 2012, Patterson was accused of spanking his then girlfriend’s son’s bare butt so hard he left welts.

He and the child’s mother got into an argument that led to him grabbing her by the throat, bouncing her up and down several times while his fist was in the air, according to the criminal complaint.

Patterson was charged and pled guilty to simple assault. He received a 365 day suspended sentence.

The Lincoln County Attorney's Office is now filing motions to revoke that suspended sentence in light of what he is charged with now.

Patterson is facing a $750,000 cash bond to get out of jail. A court hearing is scheduled for Oct. 30 regarding the petition.

A Community Mourns

A candlelight vigil outside the Metrodome Saturday is honoring of the 2-year-old. The event was slated for 8 p.m. at the corner of Fifth Street and Chicago Avenue. Organizers hope it brings awareness to domestic abuse.

On Friday, at Sertoma Park in Sioux Falls, friends, family, and complete strangers gathered to remembered the toddler.

"I just want people to remember him and how he was and how vibrant he is," said Jamie Rackow. Her daughter went to day care with the two-year-old.
She says the kids and their parents are a tight knit group, "he was just a happy boy. He would not stop playing. He was always, always happy."

Supporters also passed out purple bracelets and necklaces like these in support of domestic violence awareness month.

Some of those supporters didn't necessarily know the boy or the family.

The NFL is showing support with many players sending out tweets.

People around the Twin Cities are offering their condolences. See what they are saying by clicking here.