The 31-year-old was arrested on Wednesday and charged with one count of welfare fraud. During her Thursday court hearing, prosecutors argued that her bail should be set at $5,000 because she is a flight risk. Her attorneys asked for a personal recognizance bail. The New Hampshire judge has not made a decision.
The stepmom is being accused of obtaining over $1,500 worth of food stamps between Dec. 2019 and July 2021. Kayla Montgomery pled not guilty to the charges and claimed that she had tried to remove the little girl from her account but had problems with the system.
According to reports, Harmony Montgomery was first added to Kayla’s account in Feb. 2019. Documents said that Adam Montgomery, Harmony’s father, had gained legal custody of his daughter and that Harmony “is now currently living with us full-time. She is 4 years old and permanently blind in one eye, she was born like that.”
In Jan 2021, a caseworker added a note to Kayla Montgomery’s account and said that the woman seemed confused about whether Harmony lived with them full time or spent some weekends with her biological mother. Harmony was officially removed from the welfare account in June 2021, Kayla told caseworkers that the child had moved back with her mother.
According to Harmony’s biological mother, Crystal Sorey, she hasn’t seen her daughter since 2019. She called Manchester Police in November and told them that she hadn’t seen her daughter in six months, the woman later changed that to Easter 2019.
She said that she had lost custody of Harmony in 2018 because of a substance abuse problem and that she had tried to contact Adam Montgomery, but he had cut off all communication with her. The Massachusetts woman tried to locate her baby daddy and daughter by contacting different schools and locations that Adam could have been, but never had any luck.
According to Harmony’s stepmother, Adam claimed that he took the little girl back to live with her mother in Nov. or Dec. 2019. Kayla Montgomery never heard from the little girl after she disappeared. When Manchester police were able to find Adam at the end of Dec. 2021, he claimed that he had recently seen his daughter, but then said that he hadn’t seen her since Thanksgiving 2019 when her mother picked her up.
A police affidavit said that officers told Adam Montgomery that they were concerned about the little girl’s disappearance, but the 31-year-old seemed unbothered. He was recently charged with a 2019 assault case against his daughter.
According to court records, he is being charged with second-degree assault, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, three misdemeanor assault charges and one felony charge. He is also being accused of interference with custody.
Kevin Montgomery, Adam’s uncle, said that the charges stem from an event that happened back in July 2019. The 43-year-old said that he called DCYF after Harmony got a black eye from Adam’s abuse. He claimed that Adam hit the child after he found her with her hand over her baby brother’s mouth.
Adam had left Harmony in charge of her brother when he was in the bathroom and the little girl had tried to get him to stop crying. Kevin Montgomery also claimed that his nephew was abusive with the little girl. He spanked her, made her stand in a corner, and clean the toilet with her toothbrush.
Manchester Police continue to investigate Harmony Montgomery’s disappearance and are asking anyone with information to contact their offices. During a press conference, they said, “An innocent child is unaccounted for, and we are working tirelessly to get the answers needed to locate her.”
A reward has been established for anyone who can provide information or the location of the little girl. So far, that reward has reached $60,000.