Boy, 8, killed while protecting sister from mother’s ex-boyfriend

An 8-year-old boy in California was killed trying to protect his younger sister from their mother's ex-boyfriend.

Dante Daniels, who had just started the third grade at South Sacramento's Oakridge Elementary, was brutally beaten with a hammer during the early morning of Sept. 1. He died from his injuries six days later.

A criminal complaint states that 23-year-old Deandre Chaney Jr. was performing a criminal lewd act on Dante's 7-year-old sister when the little boy stepped in to help, Fox 40 reports.

Chaney, who pleaded no contest last year to a charge of failing to register as a sex offender, was the ex-boyfriend of Dante's mother, 28-year-old Elizabeth Salone.

"The guy beat my grandson with a hammer," Monique Brown, the children's grandmother told Fox 40. "Down to his spine. They couldn't save his brain."

The criminal complaint states that Chaney used lighter fluid during the attack, and at point turned the hammer and a knife on Dante's sister.

"Trying to save his sister from this child molester and that's why he was beat the worst." Brown said.

According to an arrest warrant, the children were home alone with Chaney when the attack happened. Salone had asked him to watch her children while she took her brother to work, the Sacramento Bee reports.

When she returned home, she heard one of her children crying. Salone told detectives that she was "struck at least three times" with a hammer from behind as she went to check on her child. Chaney then tied her up and poured lighter fluid on her.

Police said he grabbed her car keys and some other items and left in Salone's vehicle. Chaney was captured a day after the attack in Nevada hiding in someone's backyard.

Both Salone and her daughter survived, but Salone's left eye was damaged during the attack.

"She will probably never see out of her left eye," Brown said. "My granddaughter will need a lot of help."

Brown said even after Dante's death, he's continuing to help people. A 4-year-old boy in California received Dante's heart.

Chaney was arraigned on murder, attempted murder and charged with lewd acts with a child under 14.

The family started a GoFundMe as Salone and her daughter recover.

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