SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 News) – The tragic death of a Utah soccer referee is making national headlines.
The world is now watching what Utah does next as leagues talk of stricter rules and the Salt Lake District Attorney considers more charges.
Ricardo Portillo was punched in the face on April 27 allegedly by a goal keeper. Portillo pulled a yellow card on the 17-year-old player for pushing an opponent with five minutes left in the game.
The punch would prove fatal even though Portillo never lost consciousness on the field.
A police report states Ricardo was “laying on the ground on his left side in a fetal position.”
Portillo complained of pain in his face and back and said he was nauseated.
Ricardo reportedly “spit up a small amount of blood,” but Unified Fire EMS crews listed him in “Fair Condition.” The report said Unified Fire was unable to check the inside of Portillo’s mouth for injures because they had secured his head due to the possibility of neck trauma.
“When I got to the hospital I never thought it was going to be that bad,” Johana Portillo, Ricardo’s daughter, said.
Johana said her father was alone in the ambulance and for the next two hours until she got a call that Portillo was in the hospital. She wishes she would have found out sooner to spend precious moments with her father.
“I saw him conscious for two minutes and then I never saw him conscious again,” she said.
Portillo spent a week in a coma and died Saturday, May 4. Now two families are grieving from the consequence of one heated encounter.
“I want justice for my dad,” Johana added. “I’ll make it clear, justice not revenge.”
The 17-year-old player remains in a juvenile detention facility and could be tried as an adult. The Salt Lake District Attorney plans to screen the case on Tuesday.
A viewing will be held for Portillo on Wednesday, May 8, at “Our Lady of Guadalupe” Catholic Church in Salt Lake City from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. His family said Portillo will be cremated then his ashes will be taken back to Mexico.