LEAGUE CITY — 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.

The boy, Dominic Wells, remained in critical condition Thursday at a Houston hospital. He is not expected to survive his injuries, League City police officer Reagan Pena said. 

The boy’s father, 25-year-old Derek Wells, remained at the Galveston County Jail on a $100,000 bond Thursday. Wells requested the appointment of a lawyer, but did not have an attorney listed, according to court records.

Wells called 911 shortly after 3:30 p.m. Tuesday to report his son was unresponsive and “not breathing properly,” according to the affidavit. 

First responders found Dominic Wells unconscious in a two-car garage attached to a house in the 2100 block of Redwood Drive and rushed the 2-year-old boy to Clear Lake Regional Hospital. 

Doctors determined that “the child had a brain bleed, a possible skull fracture and bruises all over his body,” according to the affidavit. The boy also appeared to be underweight for his age.

Detectives interviewed Derek Wells at the police station, where the father said his toddler son “will fall as he stumbles” and hit his head on the living room floor, according to the affidavit.

Wells initially denied causing his son’s injuries, according to the affidavit.

The child was placed on life support and examined by physicians at Texas Children’s Hospital, who on Wednesday told a League City detective it was a “definite case of child abuse,” according to the affidavit.

Wells was charged with injury to a child and read his Miranda rights by a League City police detective. 

Wells then told the officer he was responsible for the injuries to his son, according to the affidavit.

Sylvia Botens and her husband own the house on Redwood Drive where Wells stayed with his son.

Botens told The Daily News she met Wells in North Carolina, as her husband was ending his service in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Botens said Wells was also a former Marine, and she offered him a place to stay after Botens and her husband moved to Texas.

Wells and his son went to Texas, and Wells and the child stayed with Botens and her husband after the mother left, Botens told The Daily News.

Wells refused an offer to stay in the house, saying “he didn’t want to be a burden,” and slept in the garage with his son, Botens said.

Derek Wells worked at a fast-food restaurant, and Botens said she would take care of the child when his father was at work.

Botens and her husband were not home when police arrived, she said.

The garage had a small Elmo bed and a cot, and Botens provided Wells with a portable air conditioner and some fans, she said.

Wells told police he is “basically homeless,” and “comes and goes” from the house on Redwood, according to the affidavit.

An investigation is ongoing, and police are contacting the child’s other relatives, Pena said.

Pena did not know whether Wells had legal custody of his son.

Additional charges could be filed, police said.

Contact reporter Alex Macon at 409-683-5241 or alex.macon@galvnews.com.

(6) comments

Andy Aycoth

So sad. I would say what I really think but it would never get posted.

PD Hyatt

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.

Sounds like we have a Marine who really needs some help as he may be suffering from PTSD.... Pray for the boy to recover and for his dad to be able to get the help that he needs.

frank furleigh

My thoughts exactly. Marine, single Dad, working in a fast food place living in a garage struggling to survive. This is a classic case of PTSD. It's not an excuse, it's a disease.


It is so sad that so many VETS do not get the needed help once they've committed their lives to serve our country. My uncle was a decorated. Vietnam Vet and has passed 4years ago and we are still waiting for the $300 they contribute to his funeral. Houston Vet Hospital is fabulous, otherwise, he never saw any benefits for serving his country. If your a veteran or a family member of one, please fight to get their benefits for them.

Michelle Aycoth

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.

PD Hyatt

You are correct. When I wrote what I wrote the child was not dead. Yes the Father needs to go to prison for what he has done. But as I stated it is a shame that it had to come to this as he might have been sufering from PTSD and no one saw it and now there is a tragedy. IMHO I do believe that there was signs before this and people were afraid of speaking up. One has to wonder why the wife left after they had moved here and left the child with the dad. There are many questions that need to be answered, but the bottom line is that they dad has admited to this and now that the child is dead he needs to go away for a long time...

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.