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A mother’s frantic phone call to Manchester, N.H., police triggered search for missing girl

An electronic billboard on Main Street in Downtown Manchester showed a photo and information on the missing girl, Harmony Montgomery, on Tuesday.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Crystal Renee Sorey drove around Manchester, N.H., in November, looking for her daughter, Harmony R. Montgomery, in places where she might be living with her father, Adam M. Montgomery. On Nov. 18, Sorey turned to Manchester police, setting off an ongoing search for the seven-year-old child — and triggering the arrest of the child’s father.

A five-page affidavit from Manchester police filed in court sheds some light on the disappearance of Harmony Montgomery, though many questions remain.

According to the affidavit, Sorey told officers in a phone call that day that she had not seen her daughter for more than six months and that the child’s father had custody. Police contacted the New Hampshire Division of Children Youth and Families, which provided addresses the agency had for Adam Montgomery.

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“Manchester police officers checked those addresses, but were unable to locate Adam” or Harmony, who is identified in court records only as H.M.

Below is a timeline of events:

— On Dec. 27, the child protection agency contacted police and reported they could not locate Harmony, either — and police launched an intensive investigation that included interviewing Sorey, searching for Montgomery, and questioning relatives of both parents.

Police searched this home on Gilford Street in Manchester for missing Harmony Montgomery, who was previously seen there with her father.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Sorey told police she lost custody of Harmony while living in Massachusetts in 2018 due to substance abuse issues, a problem Montgomery also had. “Crystal said over the years she made attempts to locate the child by contacting various schools, and driving by addresses associated with Adam but was unable to make progress,” police wrote.

Sorey also said Montgomery’s estranged wife, identified as Kayla Montgomery, with whom he has three children, blocked all contact through phone and social media sites. “Crystal said she last saw H.M. during a video call with Adam around Easter 2019. Crystal stated that Adam was visible in the background of the video call. Crystal recalled that H.M. seemed frightened.”

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— On Dec. 30, police interviewed Montgomery’s younger brother, identified in the affidavit as Michael Montgomery, who expressed concern for Harmony’s well-being. He told police the last time he saw Harmony with her father, he seemed “super short” with the child.

Also that day, Montgomery’s uncle, Kevin Montgomery, told police he had seen Harmony with a black eye in 2019 and that Adam Montgomery admitted harming her. “Adam told Kevin at that time ‘I bashed her around the house,’ " police wrote. Kevin Montgomery said he reported the abuse in 2019 to the state child protection agency.

Adam MontgomeryHeather Hamel/Manchester (N,H.) Police Department

Adam Montgomery allegedly told the uncle that he had left his daughter in charge of one of Montgomery’s infant children while he went to the bathroom, possibly to use drugs, police wrote. “The younger brother started crying during that time. Adam told Kevin that he returned and found H.M. holding her hand over the child’s mouth to stop him from crying. Adam told Kevin that he responded by striking H.M. in the face and causing the black eye.”

Kevin Montgomery also told police that Harmony was often forced to stand in the corner for hours as punishment, was slapped hard on the buttocks, and was forced to clean the toilet with her toothbrush.

— On New Year’s Eve, police interviewed Kayla Montgomery, who told them the last time she saw Harmony was in November or December 2019, when Adam was driving the child to Lowell so she could live with her mother. She denied ever seeing any physical abuse of Harmony, but acknowledged seeing Harmony with a black eye. She said Adam told her one of the younger children had hit Harmony with a toy in the face.

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Also on New Year’s Eve, police located Montgomery sleeping in a car on Harvell Street in Manchester along with his new girlfriend. ”He made some contradictory statements during our interaction which raised our suspicion and concern for H.M’s well-being,” police wrote. Montgomery said, “H.M. was fine and that he had seen her somewhat recently … Adam said he believed H.M. was in MA with her mother.”

But as detectives pleaded for his help in locating Harmony, the child’s father stopped communicating with police.

“We each emphasized that our primary concern is locating H.M. and establishing that she is safe,’’ police wrote in the affidavit. “Adam stopped answering questions multiple times and stated, ‘I have nothing else to say.’”

Montgomery claimed the last time he saw his child was Thanksgiving 2019, and at that time, she was with her mother, who was then living in Lowell. Told that Sorey insisted Harmony was with him during 2019, Montgomery refused to answer police. Police quoted Montgomery as telling them, “Not talking to you,” and “I have nothing to say,” as well as, “If I’m not under arrest, I’m leaving.”

— On Jan. 4, Adam Montgomery was arrested for allegedly beating Harmony and for actively preventing the child protection agency from accessing the child since November 2019.

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— On Jan. 5, Montgomery was ordered held without bail. The search for Harmony Montgomery is ongoing, New Hampshire authorities said.

Harmony Montgomery was 5 years old when she was last seen in late 2019, Manchester, N.H., police said.Manchester (N.H.) Police Department



John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him @JREbosglobe. Dugan Arnett can be reached at dugan.arnett@globe.com.