Last week, Adrian Peterson, running back for the Minnesota Vikings, suffered the tragic loss of his two year old son, whose death is believed to be the result of alleged abuse from his mother’s boyfriend. Many people have questioned Peterson’s closeness to his child (not much is known of their relationship prior to his death) when he chose to play in the Vikings game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, a mere two days after the child’s death. In my experience working homicide cases, everyone deals with grief differently. Some people who suffer a major loss, especially men, choose to keep busy to avoid the horrible pain of a loss. Peterson confirmed this in several interviews, where he stated that playing football has helped him cope with tragedies in his life.
Now we need to focus on the facts behind the death of the infant. The mother’s boyfriend, Joseph Patterson, has been charged with aggravated assault and aggravated battery in their home state of South Dakota. These charges were based on the severe head injuries that sent the young infant to the hospital. Patterson allegedly hit the infant in the head with a steel rod. It is likely that if a link to the injuries and the death can be medically established, the charges will be elevated to include murder.
Tragedies like these can be avoided. Single parents (both male and female) need to take a long hard look at who they are dating and be realistic. They may not be stepparent material no matter how much you love someone. First, be observant. If the person you are with shows any resentment or violence towards your child, it is a simple choice. By bringing a child into this world, you are responsible for his/her well-being. That person has to go. If you allow your partner to discipline your child, make sure you are on the same page about what is acceptable and what is not.
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