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Boy dies after being beaten with hammer while protecting sister from sex abuse

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- An 8-year-old California boy was beaten to death with a hammer while protecting his younger sister from being sexually assaulted by his mother's ex-boyfriend, according to KTXL.

Dante Daniels was brutally beaten with a hammer on Sept. 1. He died six days later.

According to a criminal complaint, 23-year-old Deandre Chaney Jr. was performing a criminal lewd act on Dante's 7-year-old sister when the child stepped in to help.

"This guy beat my grandson with a hammer. Down to his spine. They couldn't save his brain," Dante's grandmother Monique Brown told KTXL.

Chaney was found in Nevada on Sept. 2. Officers said he was wrapped in a tarp hiding in a backyard shed, according to the Sacramento Bee. He was arrested on an outstanding warrant.

Chaney is the ex-boyfriend of Dante's mother, 28-year-old Elizabeth Salone. At some point, investigators say the suspect turned the hammer and knife on Salone and the 7-year-old girl.

Salone sustained an eye injury during the altercation and will "probably never see out of her left eye," Brown said.

Brown added that the 7-year-old girl "will need a lot of help."

Doctors were able to recover Dante's heart and give it to a 4-year-old in California.

"Dante gave his heart to a 4-year-old in southern California," Brown said. "So a 4-year-old lives on."

In October, Chaney plead no contest to a charge of failing to register as a sex offender. In 2014, he pleaded no contest to battery charges. He also pleaded no contest to assault charges in 2011.