In a viscous crime hard to comprehend, a three-year-old was allegedly “whipped to death” by his aunt because he was having difficulty with a spelling lesson.
Ethan Ali was described by neighbor Elsie Witty, who lives in an apartment above the Ali family in Brooklyn, New York, as a “beautiful boy.” She added, “Friendly, lively. He always liked to play.”
Emergency medical services were called to the Ali’s apartment at around 1:20 on Wednesday afternoon, after Dale’s boyfriend got to the apartment and found Dale holding the lifeless body of her own nephew. Ethan was declared dead on the scene, and because of the extensive strap marks and bruising on his body, foul play was immediately suspected. Dale was taken into custody.
In an interview with the New York Daily News, Ethan’s grandfather, Leroy Ali, said he had confronted Christen and her boyfriend about their penchant for beating the three-year-old child with a belt before.
“They did it all the time. They beat him and they beat him. He was always bruised. She beat him with the belt. I told her to stop.”
Tragically for Ethan Ali and his parents, Christen did not stop.
According to Dale’s written confession, she admitted to whipping Ethan with a belt because he had been struggling with spelling and refused to finish his lesson. She stated that after whipping him with a belt, she forced Ethan to stand in a corner while holding a bottle on outstretched arms until the child collapsed, injuring his hip.
And Dale didn’t stop there.
The next day, she continued to abuse her nephew, and the beatings she administered proved to be fatal to Ethan.
According to the autopsy, Ethan Ali “suffered extensive bruising on his torso, back, buttocks, thighs, arms, and scalp.” In addition to the extensive bruising found on Ethan, the medical examiner also found internal bleeding from being hit with a belt buckle.
Michael Gold, lawyer for Dale, claims that Dale had always been a “devoted caretaker” to Ethan, and that she was heartbroken by the child’s death.
“There is no question that my client loved and was attentive to the child. What we have here is a tragic result of what can only be described as excessive discipline gone bad.”
Two days of beating a child with a belt is certainly tragic — for the child.
Ethan’s mother Natasha Ali, who, in addition to working full time was also taking evening classes, had often relied on her sister to provide childcare for Ethan, according to a source close to the Ali family.
As for their reaction to the death of their small son at the hands of a family member, a police officer said, “The father is very upset. The mother is catatonic.”
Christen Dale has been arraigned for manslaughter and assault charges, and his being held without bail.
Many parents use corporal punishment as a method of discipline, but, unfortunately, the line between discipline and abuse is crossed. Click here to read about the Florida mom whose attempts to discipline her daughter over bad grades led to abuse charges over the beating and public humiliation she used on her child.
[Image via the Mirror]