Soccer Referee Punched by Teen Player Dies

Teen punched ref for giving him a yellow card.

ByABC News
May 5, 2013, 12:35 PM

May 5, 2013— -- A soccer referee who was allegedly punched in the face by a teenage player and slipped into a coma has died.

Ricardo Portillo, 46, had been in critical condition since the April 27 incident and passed away Saturday night, according to the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake in Utah.

Authorities will consider additional charges against the 17-year-old suspect this week since the referee died, police said in a statement.

Lt. Justin Hoyle with the Salt Lake Unified Police Department said that Portillo was a refereeing a game at Eisenhower Junior High, in Taylorsville, Utah, last weekend when he flagged the teen for a foul.

"He made a call against a player that he was unhappy with, and gave him a yellow card, so the 17-year-old turned and punched him in face," Hoyle told

Portillo was transported to the hospital with what were at first believed to be minor injuries, but the referee soon went into a coma, Hoyle said.

The suspect was arrested Monday and brought to Salt Lake Valley Detention Center, where he has remained in custody, according to police. His name has not been released because he is a minor.

Portillo's daughter Johana told reporters earlier this week that she is heartbroken over the attack on her dad. She said this is not the first time he has been attacked on the soccer field.

"Last Saturday when we got called we thought it wasn't that serious, we thought, 'OK, they're going to call and we'll have to go get him out again and he's going to be OK,' but it wasn't like that," she said. "This person caused us a lot of pain."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.