LEAGUE CITY — A 2-year-old boy was in critical condition at a Houston hospital Wednesday, and his father faces child injury charges after the boy was found unconscious in a garage where they lived.

The boy’s father called 911 at about 3:40 p.m. Tuesday to report that his son was “unresponsive,” League City police officer Reagan Pena said. Dominic Wells, 2, was taken to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, where he was in the pediatric intensive care unit in critical condition with a severe head injury.

After doctors examined the boy, authorities filed felony charges against Derek Wells, 25, alleging injury to a child. He was jailed on $100,000 bond.

When first responders arrived, the boy and his father were found in the two-car garage attached to the house, Pena said. 

Dominic Wells was taken to Clear Lake Regional Medical Center before he was transferred to Texas Children’s Hospital.

Sylvia Botens and her husband own the house where Wells stayed with his son. She and her family were in Galveston when police were called to the house.

Botens said she was heartbroken when she found out the young boy was seriously injured.

She said she met Wells as her husband finished up his service in the U.S. Marine Corps in North Carolina and that Wells, his son and the boy’s mother moved to Texas at the same time her family did.

Botens said Wells also was a former Marine. When the family moved to Texas, Botens and her husband offered to help the fellow Marine by offering him a place to live until he could get enough money to find his own place.

She said she offered the family shelter because someone did the same for her when she and her daughter were homeless about 14 years ago.

Even when the boy’s mother left, Wells and his son stayed with Botens’ family.

Despite offers to Wells to stay in one of the house’s rooms, Botens said he refused and insisted that he and his son stay in the garage.

“He said he didn’t want to be a burden,” Botens said.

The two slept in the garage where Dominic Wells had a small Elmo bed and Derek Wells had a cot. While the garage was not set up as a living space, Botens did provide a portable air conditioner and some fans to help keep the father and son cool.

Botens said Wells had a job at a fast-food restaurant and would give her some money or buy groceries to help. She said she would also take care of the little boy when his father was at work.

She talked about how happy Dominic Wells was while attending a birthday party on Saturday.

Botens said she was shocked when she and her family arrived home to police cars. The shock turned to grief when she was informed of the boy’s condition.

“I can’t help but think of what I maybe could have done to (prevent this),” she said.

She worried too that with Wells in jail that the boy was in the hospital alone. Child Protective Services had assumed custody of the boy and the hospital was the boy’s custodian after Wells’ arrest, officials said.

Mainland Editor T.J. Aulds may be reached at 409-683-5334 or tjaulds@galvnews.com.

(13) comments


Why is the father in jail? Is it "assumed" that he injured his child? The 2 yrs old could've fallen and hit his head or anything could've happened. I hope people didn't jump to conclusions. Prayers for that baby

Lars Faltskog

Well, it appears as though the authorities suspected that the garage itself consisted of dangerous living conditions. It would be of value to know the true conditions of the garage.

Was garage air-tight with ability of cooling system to work appropriately? If there were very few open air drafts, coupled with faulty cooling, then heat exhaustion could easily happen. If one is enclosed in a garage, house, or other building where there's little cross-wind, then sometimes it's better to be outside under a tree, or under a house's peer and beams so that the benefits of cross-wind can be taken advantage of. Many of us fortunate enough to have affluency may not think that others' challenges consist of finding ways to make their living quarters "livable". It seems as though this gentleman did not do that in an appropriate fashion.

If the "injury" isn't because of heat exhaustion, then it probably can be assumed that items in the average garage could be hazardous for living, especially with a 2 year-old around.

Lars Faltskog

One question I have is what was the probable cause of the "severe head injury"?

Jim Forsythe

A 2 year old League City boy is in critical condition at Texas Children's Hospital and police have charged his father with inflicting the head injury which threatens his life.

Lars Faltskog

Response to Bigjim posted at 11:58 am on Thu, Jun 26, 2014:

It would be interesting to see if there have been any previous CPS investigations on this father. Also, to find out if the neighbor/friends who put him and child up in their garage ever were cognizant of father's anger issues...if any of such behaviors were observed.

Jim Forsythe

"Wells is a former Marine who had been living in a homeless shelters with the little boy and moved here from North Carolina. The caregiver says she never detected any signs of abuse.
Police believe that. clearly changed Tuesday afternoon.
"What we rely on is not only the interviews with the caregivers of the children, but also we rely on medical experts," said Pena.
Wells remains in custody in lieu of $100,000 bond" To many with his name in North Carolina to be sure which one is him. This is from HOUSTON (FOX 26)

Kati Crowley

There are some things that are wrong in this article, not at fault of the writer, but of Sylvia Botens.

PD Hyatt

This was in one of the other stories about this. Not for sure why GDN ran to seperate stories about this but they did.

"A father charged with injury to a child after his 2-year-old son was found unconscious in a League City garage told police he gets frustrated with the toddler and had been “hitting him harder than he should,” according to a probable cause affidavit."

Michelle Norvell

Seriously? No really, seriously? I can not believe the outpouring of sympathy to a murderer. Where is the sympathy for his abused and murdered two year old child? Why didn't the So called friends call CPS? Because he served in the military? There are many who serve and don't kill their kids...even with PTSD. This is truly a tragedy. But don't cloak a man's evilness and poor judgement in the American flag and call him a victim. If this had been some depressed Joe Schmoe, people would jumped to condemn the actions.

Sharon C
Sharon Crowley

wow outpouring of sympathy for a dishonorably discharged marine who was assisted in parental kidnapping by his landlords, and now has killed his son. Amazing people this man deserves no less than death!! My 2 year old Grandson was murdered. How horrible a crime did Dominic commit to deserve death? I am sickened as I read the sympathy here. PTSD? He never served in a war!!


I'm a veteran, and while I certainly can empathize and sympathize with the burden one has after contacting any injuries while in the service of their country,....I would ask why did this guy not seek help for his known disabilities! Where was his family? Did those who looked after the child recognize bruises, knots or marks on the baby before this last incident? If nothing else, why was this child abandoned in the care of such a person, and who obviously had abused that baby only GOD knows how many times?
Where were everybody when that baby needed somebody to step up? I don't stories like this!!! They riles me up!!! I've said it many times IN HOUSTON, and on this forum too:
I GET MAD WHEN FOLKS MESS WITH WOMEN, KIDS, AND OLD FOLKS!!! Unfortunately, I am no longer in a position like I use to be in, in order to do something about it! ( I did not read the follow up story. I just learned the baby died from Sharon C below.

you me

as a person affiliated with the military I can tell you PTSD is not just from war. its from many or any traumatic things you went through in life. I see everyone posting here and I still cant help but wonder about the mom has anyone looked her up or her past? her family could of helped her more to she clearly says she moved in with several friends and HIS family. Anyone else notice there is no mention of HER family helping? Im not sticking up for the family that did try to help but it does make you wonder and at least have to give a bit of credit to them for trying to help. The father clearly stated it was more then he could handle but he felt like he was a burden. This poor boy died and everyone wants to slander someone for it. Children die all the time cause family doesn't help so maybe we all need to hug our families and let them know we are there for them in thick and thin just maybe we might be able to save a life.

Andy Aycoth

I had PTSD and man I can tell you I do not ever want that again.

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