(WFFF/WVNY) — New Hampshire prosecutors say they have evidence that the father of a 7-year-old girl missing for more than two years showed a pattern of abuse while she was in his custody, allegedly telling his brother, “I bashed her around this house.”
Manchester Police said Adam Montgomery, 31, was arrested on New Year’s Eve while sleeping in a car after he gave contradictory statements about the whereabouts of his daughter, Harmony Montgomery, who has not been seen since late October 2019.
According to a police affidavit, when officers told Montgomery that Harmony hadn’t been seen in two years, he showed little emotion.
Police opened a missing person’s investigation in December, about a month after she was reported missing by her mother, Crystal Sorey. According to court documents, Sorey lost custody of her daughter in 2018 because of substance abuse issues, leaving sole custody of Harmony to Montgomery.
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Sorey told investigators she last saw Harmony in a Facetime call around Easter 2019 and that the girl looked frightened. She said Montgomery then blocked her cellphone number and cut off contact via social media.
Court documents show that family members told investigators that Montgomery physically abused Harmony. He allegedly gave her a black eye, forced her to “stand in the corner for hours” and scrub toilets with her toothbrush, the documents stated.
According to the affidavit, Kevin Montgomery, Adam Montgomery’s brother, said in a Dec. 30 interview with police that when Harmony was 5, Adam Montgomery said he slapped her, blackening her eye. Kevin Montgomery said he believed his brother had relapsed on drugs, and he told police there had been other “forms of abusive discipline.”
The affidavit also reports that Adam Montgomery’s current wife, Kayla Montgomery, told investigators that in November or December 2019, her husband told her he was driving the girl to Lowell, Massachusetts, to see her mother. She told police that was the last time she saw Harmony.
Early Thursday, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office announced that Kayla Montgomery, 31, was arrested on one charge of felony welfare fraud for allegedly obtaining more than $1,500 in food stamp benefits illegally. The complaint alleges that Kayla Montgomery failed to remove Harmony from the family’s account with the state’s Division of Family Assistance once she was no longer living with her and Adam Montgomery.
Joe Ribsam, New Hampshire’s Director of Children Youth and Family, said the department last had contact with Harmony in October 2019.
“It’s difficult to account for things that happen when we’re not engaged with the family,” Ribsam said. “A lot of what’s important right now is to try and figure out what has been happening to this young girl for the last few years.”
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu defended the department, saying it is run by “terrific people.”
“We brought in a whole new team just a few years ago, revamped our systems and quality assurance and control process,” Sununu said.
Adam Montgomery has been charged with one charge of felony second-degree assault, one charge of interference with custody, and two charges of endangering the welfare of a child. He waived his scheduled arraignment on Wednesday and agreed to preventative detention.
Manchester police said $43,000 in reward money has been raised in an effort to generate tips in the case.
Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg said the department is committed to the search for Harmony and hopes to find her alive.
“Enough is enough,” he said. “This is a 7-year-old girl. Let’s find her.”