Last updated: May 05. 2013 11:19PM - 1070 Views

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MURRAY, Utah — A 46-year-old soccer referee who was punched by a teenage player during a game and later slipped into a coma has died, police said.


Ricardo Portillo of Salt Lake City passed away at the hospital, where he was being treated following the assault last weekend, Unified police spokesman Justin Hoyal said Saturday night.


Police have accused a 17-year-old player in a recreational soccer league of punching Portillo after the man called a foul on him and issued him a yellow card.


“The suspect was close to Portillo and punched him once in the face as a result of the call,” Hoyal said in a press release.


The teen, whose name hasn’t been released because of his age, has been booked into juvenile detention on suspicion of aggravated assault. Hoyal said authorities will consider additional charges since Portillo has died.


An autopsy is planned. No cause of death was released.


Portillo suffered swelling in his brain and had been listed in critical condition, Dr. Shawn Smith said Thursday at the Intermountain Medical Center in the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray.


The victim’s family, which publicly spoke of Portillo’s plight this past week, has asked for privacy, Hoyal said.


Johana Portillo, 26, said last week that she wasn’t at the April 27 game in the Salt Lake City suburb of Taylorsville, but she said she’s been told by witnesses and detectives that the player hit her father in the side of the head.


“When he was writing down his notes, he just came out of nowhere and punched him,” she said.


Accounts from a police report, Portillo’s daughter and others offer more details about what occurred.


The teenager was playing goalie during a game at Eisenhower Junior High School in Taylorsville when Portillo issued him a yellow card for pushing an opposing forward trying to score a goal. In soccer, a yellow card is given as a warning to a player for an egregious violation of the rules.


The teenager, quite a bit heavier than Portillo, began arguing with the referee, then unleashed a punch to his face. Portillo seemed fine at first, then asked to be held because he felt dizzy. He sat down and started vomiting blood, triggering his friend to call an ambulance.


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