Per ABC News, The grandmother of an 8-year-old boy who was brutally murdered with a hammer said he was trying to protect his younger sister from being molested.
“Trying to save his sister from this child molester and that’s why he was beat the worst,” Monique Brown, the grandmother of 8-year-old Dante, told KTXL-TV.
Deandre Chaney Jr., 23, faces murder and attempted murder charges, along with the charge of lewd acts with a child under 14, in connection with the attack.
The criminal complaint states that Chaney murdered the 8-year-old boy while the suspect was engaged in the crime of committing a lewd act on Dante’s sister, 7-year-old Danae. At some point, investigators said Chaney turned the hammer and a knife on the girl and her mother, 28-year-old Elizabeth Salone.
Dante is being remembered as a hero. He had just started third grade and at Oak Ridge Elementary in South Sacramento, but didn’t make it to his second day, his grandmother said.
“This guy beat my grandson with a hammer, down to his spine. They couldn’t save his brain,” Brown said.
Dante died six days after the attack, which occurred early in the morning on Sept. 1.
Investigators said Chaney is the ex-boyfriend of Dante’s mother. A criminal complaint also alleges that he used lighter fluid.
Brown said her grandson was a little boy who brought a smile to her face.
“He was a lot sensitive. He didn’t play with kids who were rough. He played baseball,” Brown said of Dante.
Brown wants the community to see how Chaney left her daughter and granddaughter for dead. She said Salone will probably never see out of her left eye and Danae “will need a lot of help.”
The community has sent cards, flowers and candles to show their support for the family during their suffering. Brown said it has helped them persevere. In the end, evil was not strong enough to steal Dante’s heart.
“Dante gave his heart to a 4-year-old in Southern California, so a four year old lives because of this,” Brown said.