Most parents dream of raising siblings with a connection so strong they’d do anything for the other — including giving their life — though few would wish to see the latter become reality.
But that’s exactly what happened when Dante Daniels, 8, saved his younger sister from the alleged assault of 23-year-old Deandre Chaney Jr.
According to The Washington Post, Elizabeth Salone, 28, had asked her Chaney, her ex-boyfriend, “to watch her children while she dropped her brother off at work.”
She then returned home at around 6:10 a.m. to hear one of the children screaming from inside the home.
Upon entering, she was walking toward one of their bedrooms when Chaney “struck her from behind with a hammer and tied her up,” The Post reported, citing court documents.
Salone’s sister, Latasha Robinson, said Chaney then soaked her in lighter fluid before stealing her car keys, cellphone and cash and driving off.
Salone was able to escape to neighbors for help, but the damage had already been done.
The Sacramento County district attorney filed a criminal complaint earlier this month claiming Chaney had committed a “lewd or lascivious act” on Salone’s 7-year-old daughter, an act her older brother tried to defend her from.
Robinson said Dante moved to intervene and defend his younger sister when Chaney retrieved the hammer and subsequently used it to “brutally beat both of the children,” The Post reported.
After being rushed to the hospital, Dante was declared brain dead. He would die six days later, never making it to his second day of third grade at Oakridge Elementary in South Sacramento.
After fleeing, Chaney allegedly cut off “his parolee ankle monitor and (hopped) on an Amtrak train bound for Salt Lake City,” The Sacramento Bee reported, citing the detective’s arrest warrant request.
He was arrested in Winnemucca, Nevada, on Sept. 2, where he was found hiding inside a shed.
According to Fox News, “Chaney was arraigned on murder, attempted murder and charged with lewd acts with a child under 14.”
In the courtroom on Sept. 15, Salone and other family members had no issue facing Chaney directly, calling him a “coward” and saynig “he killed my grandson.”
“This guy beat my grandson with a hammer. Down to his spine. They couldn’t save his brain,” Monique Brown, Dante’s grandmother, told local station KTXL.
Brown also said Salone, a mother of three, will likely be permanently blind in one eye due to the alleged attack, adding that, though Dante’s sister is recovering, she will “need a lot of help.”
But even after Dante’s death, he’s continuing to help people, as a 4-year-old boy in California recently received Dante’s heart.
Robinson described Dante to The Washington Post
“When his feelings were hurt, he would walk into the corner and wait for one of us to come over and give him a hug,” she said. “He was our emotional kid.”
According to Brown, Dante was a “sensitive” third-grader who loved baseball and “didn’t play with kids that were rough.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up in Dante’s honor. The effort had raised nearly $90,000 to help Dante’s family with medical expenses. (For more from the author of “Family Says 8-Yr-Old Boy Dies After Protecting Little Sister From Attacker” please click HERE)