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3-year-old beaten to death with belt by aunt

TRAGIC: Ethan Ali
TRAGIC: Ethan Ali

US authorities claim that a three-year-old boy was brutally beaten to death by his 21-year-old aunt.

Christen Dale admitted to police that she hit little Ethan Ali, because he was struggling with his spelling.

The boy’s body was found in a Brooklyn apartment with extensive bruising and belt buckle marks on his torso, back, buttocks, thighs, arms and scalp.

Christen Dale

"There is no question that my client loved and was attentive to the child," said Ms Dale’s attorney.

"What we have here is a tragic result of what can only be described as excessive discipline gone bad."

Dale was babysitting Ethan for her sister Natasha Ali.

Reports indicate that the boy stayed home from school because he felt sick.

Later in the day he seemed better so Dale questioned him about skipping preschool classes and tested his spelling before administering the lethal beating.

The accused could face 25-years in prison if convicted.