How Three Women Exposed an Army Lt. Colonel’s Crazy Secret Life
Chelsea Curnutt went looking for Richard Kane Mansir the day before their baby was due. What she found is now the subject of an Army investigation.
Chelsea Curnutt didn’t plan to spend the day before her baby was due driving 16 hours to bang on the door of her fiancé’s parents’ house, but there she was.
Nineteen months earlier, she’d started Instagram messaging with Richard Kane Mansir, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army whom everyone called Kane. He was 10 years her senior, had two sons from a previous marriage, and lived 600 miles away, but she didn’t mind. He was smart and funny, and they talked easily. He liked shooting and skydiving; she loved the first and always wanted to try the latter. They met in person for the first time in December 2019, when she was driving home from vacation and offered to meet him at his post in Fort Bragg. They’d talked every day since. At the beginning of 2020, when he told her he was being relocated to Virginia, she volunteered to move with him. In October, she found out she was pregnant with their first child.
But now it was June 7, the day before their baby was due, and Curnutt hadn’t been able to reach Mansir in more than 48 hours. So she packed up her belongings, waddled out to the car, and set off to find him.
In retrospect, there were always things about the relationship that seemed off. According to Curnutt, she was watching Army leadership videos one night and stumbled across one of Mansir in which he talked about having a daughter. When she asked him why he’d never mentioned the third child, he told her she had died. Another time, she found the results from two local 10K races in which Mansir had finished right in front of the same female Army member. When she asked if he knew the woman, he brushed her off. His ex-wife had even called her once, in February of this year, and left a voicemail. But she says Mansir told her the woman was crazy and out for his money, so she ignored it.
The strangest incident happened in the spring of last year, when the couple decided to move to Virginia together. Curnutt says she volunteered to go early, so she could settle in and find work. Mansir was supposed to relocate in June. But then, in April, he told her he had been deployed—she doesn’t recall where exactly, but she remembers him calling her on WhatsApp from Kuwait. He didn’t know how long he’d be gone. At one point during the deployment, he told her he’d broken his foot and had to be evacuated to Germany. He even sent her an X-ray of the break.
In August, Curnutt was on a run near the Army base when she saw what looked like Mansir’s Jeep. It had Illinois plates and stickers for the Rangers, his former division. When she asked Mansir about it, he insisted it wasn’t his car. But a few days later, while filling up her gas tank on base, she saw him open the door and get in.
“He played it off as if he was trying to surprise me post-deployment and that he had to quarantine, and that I ruined the whole surprise,” she told The Daily Beast.
“He did his typical thing of belittling me, making me feel like I’m the crazy one, and then [saying,] ‘I love you, everything will be fine, don’t overthink it,’” she said.
Mansir had a way of doing that, she said: Making her feel like she was the crazy one. When she was pregnant, he’d often blame her suspicions on her hormones, saying they were making her paranoid. She’d been cheated on in past relationships, she said, and figured she was just hypersensitive.
And besides, when Mansir was nice to her, he was really nice. He rented a townhouse for her to stay in while he lived on base, and he came over all the time, taking her on hikes and to the park, ordering takeout and talking for hours. When he said he was awarded a Silver Star, one of the military’s highest honors, she says he told her to buy a fancy dress and come with him to the ceremony.
Curnutt says she bought a journal to write in during her pregnancy but didn’t use it much, “because most of my pregnancy was really depressing.” One of the only entries is from Oct. 6, the day she told Mansir she was pregnant.
“The first thing he did was grab me in the kitchen and give me a hug and a kiss, and then he grabbed my hands and we ended up praying,” she said. “It seemed really genuine and he seemed like he really cared and he really wanted us to be a family.”
“Obviously looking at it now,” she added, “I think, ‘Wow, how fucked up.’”
According to military records, Lt. Col. Richard Kane Mansir is a civil affairs officer who conducts “Army support activity” at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. He served in the Rangers and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012, but has not been sent overseas since 2014. He has never been awarded a Silver Star.
According to court records, Mansir is legally married—and has been, for almost 18 years, to the same woman. (Contacted by The Daily Beast, she asked not to be named in this story.) The pair have three children together, all very much alive.
According to multiple sources, the pair was having marital problems in August—around the same time Curnutt discovered Mansir’s Jeep on base—so his wife volunteered to take the kids home with her to Illinois and give him some space. His wife was about to move back in January of this year when she got a phone call from another woman telling her she was engaged to him.
And she wasn’t the only one. Another woman, whom we’ll call Jessica because she did not want her name used, told The Daily Beast she was engaged to Mansir in 2017, while his wife was pregnant with their third child. The pair went on several trips together—including with one of his coworkers—and he’d even met her parents, but she says she had no idea about his wife and family at home. He did tell her—as he’d told Curnutt—that he’d lost a child tragically, and that it had ruined his previous marriage. He also told her he’d been awarded two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star, the latter of which he claimed to have thrown out in anger after they fought.
Jessica says he claimed to have been deployed several times during their relationship—once, while she was at home tending to her dying mother, and another time that forced them to postpone their hastily arranged nuptials in Las Vegas. The second time, she asked for some kind of proof of his deployment so she could get refunds for their airfare and hotel rooms. The deployment papers he sent her, reviewed by The Daily Beast, appear to be fake.
“He’s got this playbook,” Jessica said. “He tells these lies about his dead children, about his PTSD, his deployments, and all the horrible things he’s had to do. He creates all these imaginary traumas to cloak his lies in.”
“It’s amazing lining up those lies across all the people I talked to and being like, ‘Wow… You too?’” she added. “It’s dysfunctional but also kind of comforting because like, maybe I’m not insane.”
In February, when Mansir’s wife called her, Curnutt had disregarded it. But on June 7, she was at her wits’ end. She was 24 hours from her due date and the last time she’d spoken to her fiancé was two days earlier, when she called to tell him she was having contractions and he yelled at her not to bother him at work. She’d called and texted him dozens of times since then, with no response.
Desperate to reach him, she called the support staff at the base, who seemed confused. A secretary there passed her to the sergeant major, who called her by the name she thought belonged to Mansir’s ex-wife. When she told the sergeant her baby was due any day and she needed to see him urgently, he responded: “Ma’am, Kane is on leave.”
So Curnutt called his wife.
“I was like, ‘Listen, I know you probably don’t like me because I’m the new person in his life, but I’m calling you out of desperation because I haven’t been able to find Kane,’” she recalled. “And she goes, ‘Chelsea, we’re still married.’”
His wife told Curnutt that Mansir was likely in Illinois for a hearing in their divorce case the next day. So Curnutt packed up her car and drove the 16 hours straight there. When she finally made it at 2 a.m., she couldn’t help making one last pit stop: at Mansir’s parents’ house. (“I knew he didn’t have anywhere else to go,” she said.)
According to a police report from that night, Mansir’s father told a dispatcher that Curnutt parked outside of the house and threatened to burn it down if his son didn’t come outside. (Curnutt denies this.) She told an officer who arrived on the scene that she was 40 weeks pregnant with Mansir’s baby, and provided photos of them together and a lease agreement with their names on it. When the officer interviewed Mansir, he said he had no idea who Curnutt was and that she was probably stalking him—a scenario that seemed “impossible,” the officer wrote, given the information Curnutt had provided. The officer let her go.
Curnutt says the officer also provided her with the name of the woman staying with Mansir at his parents’ house that night. It was the same woman from the 10Ks.
Working together—poring over old phone records, credit-card charges, and travel itineraries—Curnutt and Jessica say they and Mansir’s wife have identified at least four other women with whom the soldier engaged in serious, long-term relationships over the last five years, while still married. Curnutt says she’s been contacted by several more since she started posting about his behavior on Instagram, but they’ve been too afraid to come forward.
That’s the problem, the women agree: Mansir had a habit of dating Army subordinates and widows of men who died in combat—women who’d be too embarrassed to say anything about it, or whose careers would be ruined if they did. Many of the women they contacted said they had a husband, or a family, or a business, and didn’t want to get involved, Jessica said.
“And neither do I,” she added. “But I also kind of want to see him burn.”
Mansir did not respond to requests for comment sent by email and through his divorce lawyer. His phone number appears to have been changed; his Instagram account has been wiped. The only remaining traces of him on the internet include a Medium page, where he posts melancholy poetry, and a Pinterest account. (The account has one public board, “Projects to Try,” which—alongside home gym and gun storage ideas—contains a link to DIY fake divorce papers.)
The Army previously told the Army Times it was “aware of and investigating the allegations against Lt. Col. Mansir.” In a statement to The Daily Beast, it added that he had been temporarily suspended from his position, pending the outcome of the investigation.
Curnutt and Mansir’s wife met in person for the first time at his divorce hearing on June 8—the same day his baby with Curnutt was due. Curnutt and Jessica both testified at the hearing, in which his estranged wife petitioned for custody of their kids. Curnutt said she told the judge she was testifying to make sure Mansir “never touches his children or does anything to them the way he did to us—and so he never, ever gets his hands on my daughter.”
She said Mansir avoided eye contact with her throughout the hearing, but looked up at her in that moment, “almost like an ‘I’m sorry,’ type of thing.’”
“In my head I’m like, ‘No, you’re not,’” she recalled. “‘You’re a disgusting human being.’”
Curnutt’s daughter was born June 13, healthy except for some mild jaundice. She sent Mansir photos of the newborn via email, but he never responded. (A paternity test provided to The Daily Beast shows Curnutt’s daughter and Mansir’s youngest child with his wife are 99.6 percent likely to be half-siblings.)
The last three weeks have been like “living a nightmare,” Curnutt said, but her daughter keeps her going. “If it wasn’t for all this stuff I went through, I never would have gotten her,” she said. “And I love her to pieces.”
She also thinks, in some way, that what happened to her was fated. She isn’t like many of the other women, with their livelihoods dependent on keeping Mansir’s secret. She has family, a career, and a life of her own. She can expose his lies in public because she has nothing to lose.
“I think what I went through, I went through for a reason, because I was going to be the one to speak up,” she said.
“He’s been getting away with it for over a decade,” she added. “Your time is up.”