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Soccer referee punched by player in Utah dies

Ricardo Portillo, 46, of Salt Lake City, is seen in this undated file photo. Portillo, a soccer referee, died after being punched in the head by a player.

May 6, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Utah soccer referee who was allegedly punched in the head by a teenager has died.

Ricardo Portillo, 46, of Salt Lake City, died after spending a week in a coma. Police say a 17-year-old player in a recreational soccer league punched Portillo after the man called a foul on him.

According to accounts from a police report, Portillo's daughter and others, 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.

The teenager began arguing with the referee, then allegedly punched him in the face. Portillo seemed fine at first, but then asked to be held because he felt dizzy. He sat down and started vomiting blood. That's when his friend called for an ambulance.

The teen has been booked into a juvenile detention center on suspicion of aggravated assault. Authorities are considering additional charges since Portillo's death.