September 1st was supposed to be a time of new beginnings.
Eight-year-old Dante Daniels would be starting his second day of 3rd grade, and his 7-year-old sister would be embarking on day two of 2nd grade. But while on their walk to school with their mother, 27-year-old Elizabeth Salone, in South Sacramento, California, the two children were attacked by their mother's ex-boyfriend, 23-year-old Deandre Chaney Jr.
According to the criminal report, Deandre was "engaged in the crime of committing a lewd act" on Dante's little sister when the 8-year-old stepped in to protect her.
He was attacked with a hammer and a knife.
"Trying to save his sister from this child molester, and that's why he was beat the worst,” said his grandmother, Monique Brown.
Deandre also reportedly attacked the little sister with a hammer and a knife as well as Elizabeth. He also is said to have used lighter fluid during the crime.
All three victims were transported to the hospital with severe injuries. Sadly, Dante was declared brain dead and died six days later.
Salone and her daughter survived the attack, but the mother will likely never see out of her left eye again and the little girl will "need a lot of help," explained the grandmother.
Even after his death, Dante continued to be a hero by donating his heart to a young boy who needed it.
"Dante gave his heart to a 4-year-old In Southern California, so a 4-year-old lives because of [him]," Brown said.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help the family with their financial burdens after they recover from this tragedy.
"We are asking for any help possible due to the fact the kids need multiple surgeries along with medical bills and recovery," the donation page reads. "They will all need to go through counseling."
"The children will never be the same from this tragedy nor will their mother. They will be traumatized from such vicious crime. They will need to start over from the ground up. Anything helps pray, share, a small donation."
In the 21 days that it's been active, the campaign has raised $18,308 of it $20,000 goal.
People have commented supporting messages of love and awe in the courageous acts Dante made in the final moments of his young life.
"The little boy showed great bravery in trying to protect his sister," one comment read. "I’m very sorry and saddened by the loss of his life. May he Rest In Peace. Wishing his mother, sister and the rest of their family peace of heart and mind."
Deandre is facing murder and attempted murder charges along with charges of lewd acts with a child under 14.
Emily Blackwood is an editor at YourTango who covers pop culture, true crime, dating, relationships and everything in between. Every Wednesday at 10:20 p.m. you can ask her any and all questions about self-love, dating, and relationships LIVE on YourTango’s Facebook page. You can follow her on Instagram (@blackw00d) and Twitter (@emztweetz).