Stepmother of missing New Hampshire girl faces new charges

New Hampshire prosecutors have filed new charges against the stepmother of 7-year-old Harmony Montgomery, who has been missing since 2019.

Kayla Montgomery is charged with two counts of theft by deception for taking $1,500 in welfare intended for Harmony when the girl was no longer living with her between Nov. 30, 2019, and June 2, 2021, according to a criminal complaint.

Montgomery, 31, of Manchester, N.H., also is charged with two counts of welfare fraud because she told a New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services caseworker that she was homeless with four children, despite only having only three at the time because Harmony was missing, a complaint said.

Her arraignment and bail hearing are scheduled for Thursday.

Montgomery pleaded not guilty last Thursday in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester to one count of welfare fraud, a felony.

Her arraignment came two days after police charged the child’s father, Adam Montgomery, with giving Harmony a black eye in July 2019 and hiding her with the intent to conceal her from the New Hampshire Division of Children, Youth and Families, according to court documents.

He also is charged with failing to have her in his physical custody since about November of 2019, even though he had legal custody of her. He was taken into custody “based on clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s release will endanger the safety of the defendant or of the public,” according to a bail order.

Kayla Montgomery admitted seeing Harmony with a black eye but said her husband told her that one of their three children had struck the girl with a toy, a police affidavit said.

Kayla Montgomery told investigators that her husband said one morning in November or December of 2019 that he was driving his daughter back to Crystal Sorey, the girl’s biological mother, in Massachusetts, according to the affidavit.

Harmony was reported missing on Nov. 18, 2021, by Sorey, who said she hadn’t seen her daughter since about April 21, 2019, in a FaceTime video call in which the child seemed frightened and her father was in the background, according to a police affidavit.

Manchester Police opened an investigation into Harmony’s disappearance after the New Hampshire Division of Children, Youth and Families told them on Dec. 27 that staff could not find the girl. Police learned Harmony hadn’t been seen since October or November of 2019, the affidavit said.

Sorey told investigators she had lost custody in July 2018 to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families due to substance abuse, but she had gotten sober and had been searching for Harmony since, the affidavit said.

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