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 firstname.lastname@example.org.