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An 8-year-old Sacramento, California, boy has died of injuries sustained while trying to save his little sister from being sexual assaulted by their mother’s ex-boyfriend, Deandre Chaney Jr., 23, the Huffington Post reports.

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The incident occurred about 5 a.m. Sept. 1 when the mother Elizabeth Salone, 28, left her son Dante, 8, and her daughter, 7, in Chaney’s care while she drove her brother to work, the Sacramento Bee writes. Upon returning home about 6 a.m., Salone heard crying and went to check on her children. That’s when Chaney is accused of striking her three times with a hammer, the report says.

Then he reportedly sprayed Salone and her house with lighter fluid before attacking her children with the hammer. Dante, who tried to save his sister from the sex assault, died six days later of injuries sustained during the hammer attack, according to the report.

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After the attacks, Chaney reportedly “cut off his parolee ankle monitor and [hopped] on an Amtrak train bound for Salt Lake City.” He was later arrested in Winnemuca, Nevada. Chaney’s prior criminal record includes rape, robbery, and assault. Chaney has been charged with Dante’s murder, the attempted murder of Dante’s mother, and with committing “lewd acts” on the 7-year-old sister.

Dante’s grandmother, Monique Brown, told reporters that he was a “sensitive” child who sacrificed his life to save his sister from a child molester. She said that he was a hero, even in death, as his heart was donated to keep another child alive. “A four-year-old lives because of him,” Brown told reporters.

Dante’s family has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for medical expenses. The account was set up when both children were struggling to survive their injuries. Dante passed away six days after the brutal attack. On fundraiser site, he is pictured with a wide grin and superimposed angel wings.

“It’s getting hard each day as it comes close to lay our angel, our hero, to rest,” a relative writes on the GoFundMe page. “We [appreciate] you guys so much for your kind words and prayers as well as donations.”

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