A federal grand jury indicted an Army staff sergeant on June 30 for the murder of a child at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri in November 2019.
Prosecutors allege that 40-year-old Kevin Long beat a two-year-old child to death as “part of a pattern and practice of assault” against the toddler. The two-count indictment also charges Long with making a false statement.
The child attended a daycare Long’s wife operated from their home on the base, according to court documents. It is unclear how many children were under their care, when the unofficial caretaking operation began, or if base leadership was aware of it.
Fort Leonard Wood’s three “Child Development Center(s)” offer childcare services to the kids of base personnel aged between 6 weeks and five years old. Army policy requires anyone providing regular childcare for more than 10 hours a week to register as a “Family Child Care” provider with the branch’s Child and Youth Services division, according to the Army’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation program website. Offering “unauthorized” care can lead to a revocation of on-base housing privileges.
Dawn Arden, a public affairs officer on the base, confirmed to Military Times that “the Long family childcare enterprise was uncertified and unauthorized as [a] Family Child Care facility.”
The indictment alleges that Long “did willfully and knowingly make a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement” when he told investigators that “he was unaware of United States Army regulations that restricted the operation of a daycare at Fort Leonard Wood.” Prosecutors claim that Long knew about regulations restricting the operation of unsanctioned daycares on the base.
Long’s lawyers and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Missouri — the Department of Justice branch prosecuting the case — did not respond to requests for comment.
Fort Leonard Wood, a sprawling 63,000-acre facility nestled in the Missouri Ozarks, trains almost 80,000 Army servicemembers and civilians annually, according to the base’s website. Reliable up-to-date data detailing the number of families living on the installation is not publicly available.
Long pleaded not guilty to all charges during his arraignment July 6. Citing Long’s flight risk and “clear and convincing evidence” that he is a “danger to the community,” the judge presiding over the case decided to keep him in detention.
Editor’s note: This story was updated on July 7 at 10:42 a.m. EST with additional information about Kevin Long’s arraingment.
Jaime Moore-Carrillo is an editorial fellow for Military Times and Defense News. A Boston native, Jaime graduated with degrees in international affairs, history, and Arabic from Georgetown University, where he served as a senior editor for the school's student-run paper, The Hoya.