Police: US soccer referee punched by player dies

Sunday - 5/5/2013, 6:39pm EDT

FILE - In this Thursday, May 2, 2013 file photo, Jose Lopez points to an undated photo of Ricardo Portillo, center, his brother-in-law, following a news conference, at Intermountain Medical Center, in Murray, Utah. Portillo, a 46-year-old soccer referee who was punched by a teenage player during a game and later slipped into a coma died Saturday night, May 4, 2013, police said. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

MURRAY, Utah (AP) -- Ricardo Portillo's daughters had begged him to stop refereeing in a soccer league because of the growing risk of violence from angry players.

Now they're faced with planning his funeral after he succumbed to injuries late Saturday that had put him in a coma for a week since a 17-year-old goalie punched him in the head.

Authorities say the teen punched Portillo after the youth was called for a foul and issued a yellow card.

"The suspect was close to Portillo and punched him once in the face as a result of the call," Unified police spokesman Justin Hoyal in a press release.

The suspect has been booked into juvenile detention on suspicion of aggravated assault. Hoyal said authorities will consider additional charges since the 46-year-old Salt Lake City man has died.

Hoyal said 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 spoke publicly of Portillo's plight this past week, but has asked for privacy, Hoyal said.

The unaffiliated soccer league, Liga Continental de F
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