SACRAMENTO, Calif. — An eight-year-old boy was allegedly bludgeoned to death with a hammer while trying to save his sister from being sexually abused by his mother’s ex-boyfriend.
According to reports, on Sept. 1, Elizabeth Salone, 28, asked her ex-boyfriend Deandre Chaney Jr., 23, to watch her children while she drove her brother to work at 5:30 a.m.
However, while she was gone, Chaney allegedly sexually molested Salone’s seven-year-old daughter, and her son Dante stepped in to stop him. Chaney then retrieved a hammer and began beating both of the children, with Dante taking the worst of the blows.
Salone returned home 40 minutes later, and as she heard crying, she went upstairs to see what was wrong. Chaney then struck her too with a hammer and tied her up, pouring lighter fluid on her. He then took her car keys and cell phone, and drove off in her car.
Chaney, who had been on parole and was wearing an ankle monitor, cut off his monitor, and soon took an Amtrak train headed for Utah. He was able to flee as far as Nevada and was discovered hiding in a backyard shed when taken into custody by police the following day.
Salone was able to break free and run to a neighbor’s house, where she called the police. However, her son Dante was declared brain dead at the hospital and died six days later.
“This guy beat my grandson with a hammer—down to his spine. They couldn’t save his brain,” lamented grandmother Monique Brown to Fox 40 Sacramento.
Dante’s heart was donated to a four-year-old child in Southern California in need of a new heart.
Sister Latasha Robinson remembered Dante as being a lovable boy with a tender spirit.
“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 told the Washington Post. “He was our emotional kid.”
Dante’s sister is recovering from her injuries, and Salone is still suffering from an eye injury from the beating. They both will have a long road to recovery, reports state.
“[Salone] will probably never see out of her left eye,” Brown mourned.
Chaney has been charged with murder, attempted murder and performing a lewd act on a child under 14. According to the Sacramento Bee, Chaney has a history of sexual abuse, including a rape conviction from 2007. He plead no contest last year to a charge of failing to register as a sex offender.
“The children will never be the same from this tragedy, nor will their mother,” a GoFundMe page for the family reads. “They will be traumatized from such vicious crime. They will need to start over from the ground up.”
As of press time, the $75,000 goal had been surpassed, with more than $83,000 being raised.