An 8-year-old Sacramento boy gave his life to save his sister from a sexual predator. Dante Daniels, a third grader at Oakridge Elementary, died six days after he was brutally beaten by his mother's ex-boyfriend, 23-year-old Deandre Chaney Jr., after he tried to step in and protect his 7-year-old sister as she was being molested.

Chaney used a hammer on the boy, and reportedly used a knife on the little girl.

“This guy beat my grandson with a hammer. Down to his spine. They couldn't save his brain," Dante’s grandmother, Monique Brown told Sacramento’s Fox 40 Thursday (Sept. 21).

Brown shared fond memories of her grandson, who started third grade a day before the heinous early morning attack. "He was a little," she said. "He was a lot sensitive. He didn't play with kids who were rough. He played baseball."

The boy's heart has since been donated to a 4-year-old in Southern California.

On Sept. 1, Dante’s mother, Elizabeth Salone, asked Chaney to watch him and his sister two while she went to drop her brother off at work at around 5:30 a.m., the Sacramento Bee reports. Salone, 28, told authorities that she returned home to hear one of the children crying, and was subsequently beaten in the head with a hammer by Chaney when she went to check on them. He also tied her up and doused her with lighter fluid before taking her cell phone, money from her purse, and her car.

He cut off his ankle bracelet and fled to an Amtrak train bound for Salt Lake City, but was arrested  on an outstanding warrant in Nevada on Sept. 2. Authorities found Chaney wrapped in a tarp and hiding in a shed.

On Sept. 15, Chaney was arraigned for murder, attempted murder, and performing lewd acts with a minor younger than 14.

Chaney has a long criminal history dating back to childhood. His list of charges include rape, battery, assault, lewd acts with a dependent, and forced oral copulation. In October, Chaney pleaded no contest for failing to register as a sex offender.

MAIN IMAGE CREDIT: Screencap: Fox 40