Aunt of 13-month old dead Gresham toddler seeks justice

Lurdes Rolon said she was in the process of becoming Dominick's legal guardian

Baby Dominick died Thursday, Sept. at 13-months old from a traumatic brain injury. The mother's boyfriend was arrested for the murder two days later (Courtesy: Lurdes Rolan)
Baby Dominick died Thursday, Sept. at 13-months old from a traumatic brain injury. The mother's boyfriend was arrested for the murder two days later (Courtesy: Lurdes Rolan)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Lurdes Rolon was out of the country on Thursday, far away from her Portland home, when she got the call that broke her heart.

Rolon says she was in the process of becoming a legal guardian to her brother’s son, a 13-month old baby named Dominick.

“He was my baby,” Rolon said. “I saw him as mine. He was here from the day he was born.”

Baby Dominick died Thursday, Sept. at 13-months old from a traumatic brain injury. The mother's boyfriend was arrested for the murder two days later (Courtesy: Lurdes Rolan)
Baby Dominick died Thursday, Sept. at 13-months old from a traumatic brain injury. The mother’s boyfriend was arrested for the murder two days later (Courtesy: Lurdes Rolan)

Then, on Thursday, she got a strange call from her niece, who was crying on the other end.

“She said to me, ‘Dominick is dead,'” Rolon, fighting back tears on Sunday, said. “I stepped away and said ‘Tell me what’s going on,’ and she said, ‘he’s dead.’

“He was the light of my life.”

Paramedics were called to Dominick’s mother’s Gresham home on Thursday afternoon. When they got there, they found Dominick unconscious and not breathing. They tried to revive him, but it was too late.

A day later, investigators found Dominick had died from a traumatic brain injury. They ruled the death a homicide.

Then, on Saturday, Gresham police arrested Shalondre Adams, 21, the mother’s boyfriend, and charged him with the murder of Dominick. Adams is expected to appear in court for arraignment on Monday afternoon.

Adams’ friends and family told KOIN 6 News on Saturday that they think Adams is innocent.

“He was the light of my life.”

“My brother innocent,” said Latavon Spencer. “Stop sabotaging his name, man and, just pray for us. That’s all I got to say.”

Rolon, who said she was completing paperwork with the mother to gain custody of Dominick, would take Dominick on the weekends while the mother had him during the week. Rolon described Dominick as a rambunctious, energized little boy, someone who wasn’t afraid of anything. That’s why, she said, she didn’t read too deep into bruises he had when he would return to her home on the weekends.

Baby Dominick died Thursday, Sept. at 13-months old from a traumatic brain injury. The mother's boyfriend was arrested for the murder two days later (Courtesy: Lurdes Rolan)
Baby Dominick died Thursday, Sept. at 13-months old from a traumatic brain injury. The mother’s boyfriend was arrested for the murder two days later (Courtesy: Lurdes Rolan)

Now, in hindsight, she said she wishes she would have paid more attention to the warning signs. She hopes she can get justice for Dominick.

“If he allowed someone else to hurt my child he needs to let us know,” Rolon said, “but there’s absolutely no way that I’m gonna sit here and none of my family believes his innocent because the evidence is there.”

This is an especially heartbreaking time for Rolon. Dominick’s death comes almost a year after the death of her mother.

“I want to believe that she is now taking over and taking care of my baby,” she said.