An 8-year-old Sacramento, Calif. boy lost his life as he attempted to protect his sister from an alleged sexual assault, Huffington Post reports.
According to the child’s family, Dante was attacked by the perpetrator, beaten with a hammer and left for dead after attempting to protect his younger sister.
Dante, who would have started third grade this school year, died on Sept. 6 as a result of his injuries.
“[He was] trying to save his sister from this child molester, and that’s why he was beat the worst,” Dante’s grandmother, Monique Brown, told KTXL-TV.
Brown said the family donated the boy’s heart to a child in Southern California upon his death.
“A 4-year-old lives because of [him],” Brown said.
Deandre Chaney Jr., 23, has been charged in the boy’s death. Chaney, who is the ex-boyfriend of Dante’s mother, was also charged with sexually assaulting his Dante’s 7-year-old sister, according to reports.
Investigators say Chaney, who has a rap sheet full of crimes including rape and assault, committed “lewd acts” on the girl on Sept. 1 before beating her, her brother and the children’s mother with a hammer.
The boy’s mother, Elizabeth Salone, 28, told police that Chaney also doused her in lighter fluid before fleeing the scene. He was arrested in Winnemucca, Nev., after reportedly cutting off his parolee ankle monitor and hopping on an Amtrak train bound for Salt Lake City.