A US Army sergeant is facing a murder charge accused of beating a two-year-old girl to death at an illegal daycare centre run by his wife.
Prosecutors in Springfield, in the US state of Missouri, said the killing had been carried out during the “perpetration of child abuse”.
And they described the slaying as ” part of a pattern and practice of assault against a child.”
Accused Kevin Long, 40, was charged with the first-degree murder of a child on Tuesday, 27th June.
He is said to have beaten the toddler to death in 2019 at a child daycare centre being run illegally by his unnamed wife at their home on Fort Leonard Wood US Army base.
It is currently unclear if she is facing charges over the illegal nursery centre.
Prosecutors say he is also accused of making a false statement by claiming he did not know the centre was banned under army regulations.
Under US law the child victim’s name is not used and she is referred to as a Jane Doe.
The charges emerged after Long was indicted by a federal grand jury.
Newsflash obtained a statement from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri dated Friday, 30th June, saying: “A U.S. Army staff sergeant stationed at the Fort Leonard Wood military base has been indicted by a federal grand jury for killing a two-year-old child.”
The statement went on: “Kevin Long, 40, was charged in a two-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Springfield on Tuesday, June 27.
“That indictment was unsealed and made public today following Long’s arrest and initial court appearance. Long remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing on July 6, 2023.
“The federal indictment alleges that on Nov. 6, 2019, Long physically assaulted a two-year-old child, identified in court documents as ‘Jane Doe,’ as part of a pattern and practice of assault against a child.
“Long killed Jane Doe, the indictment says, by blunt force injuries in the perpetration of child abuse.
“Jane Doe was being cared for by Long and his wife in a daycare she operated out of their home on Fort Leonard Wood.”
The statement added: “Under federal law, murder committed in the perpetration of child abuse is murder in the first degree.
“Long also is charged with one count of making a false statement. Long allegedly told authorities during the murder investigation that he was unaware of Army regulations that restricted the operation of a daycare at Fort Leonard Wood.”