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Prosecutors file more charges against wife of father of missing N.H. child

Manchester police provided this photo of Harmony Montgomery.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

New Hampshire prosecutors have filed eight new misdemeanor charges of public assistance fraud against the estranged wife of Adam Montgomery, the man charged with assaulting his missing daughter, Harmony Montgomery, a 7-year-old who disappeared in the fall of 2019, court records show.

Kayla Montgomery, 31, was charged last week with a single felony count of welfare fraud for allegedly collecting more than $1,500 in food stamp benefits meant for Harmony after she had gone missing.

In a motion filed Tuesday, state Assistant Attorney General Jesse O’Neill wrote that prosecutors were alerted Friday by state human services officials to “additional documentation that potentially raised concern for the offense level of the welfare fraud charge.”

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“A preliminary review made it appear as if the class A felony welfare fraud charge would have to be downgraded to a class B felony,” O’Neill wrote.

She is now charged with a felony theft by deception in addition to the eight misdemeanors, which allege she made an “intentionally false statement or misrepresentation” to obtain public assistance to which she wasn’t entitled, according to prosecutors and legal filings.

Kayla Montgomery is being held on $5,000 bail. She is slated to be arraigned on the new charges on Thursday.

Authorities allege that Adam Montgomery, who is charged with committing felony second-degree assault against Harmony, refused to tell Manchester, N.H., police where the child was during a New Year’s Eve interview and also acknowledged to relatives he had physically attacked her in the past.

A Massachusetts juvenile court awarded Montgomery custody of Harmony in February 2019.

Kayla Montgomery is not Harmony Montgomery’s biological mother. She and Adam Montgomery have three other children in common.

On Monday, Manchester police concluded their search of a Gilford Street home where Harmony once lived. The residence was searched over the weekend and on Jan. 2, officials said.

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Adam Montgomery told police on Dec. 31 that the last time he saw Harmony was Thanksgiving 2019 and at that time, he was with her mother, Crystal Renee Sorey, who was living in Lowell. Told that Sorey insisted Harmony was with him during 2019, Adam 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.”

At a candlelight vigil Saturday, Sorey told the Globe that Harmony had been failed by officials in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

“I’m not going to lie, I’m hostile at this point,” she said, as a dozen or so friends and relatives hung posters and lit candles in honor of Harmony. “I have a lot of hostility to a lot of people that failed my daughter. And I’m included, I’m always going to own the fact that I played my part on this. But I never gave up on her.”

In an affidavit, police wrote that Adam Montgomery’s relatives notified the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth, and Families in late 2019 that Adam Montgomery had admitted to hitting the child in the face with such force it left her with a black eye. The relative quoted Montgomery as saying, “ ‘I bashed her around this house,’ ” according to police.

Authorities now allege Montgomery physically abused the child between July 1 and July 22, 2019. They also allege he has actively endangered the welfare of his daughter since November 2019.

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Sorey was pregnant with the child in January 2014 when Montgomery shot a man in the head during a drug deal in Haverhill, according to Massachusetts court records and relatives.

Adam Montgomery pleaded guilty in connection with the 2014 Haverhill shooting and was given an 18-month suspended sentence to be served concurrently with an unrelated criminal case, records show.

According to New Hampshire court records, Adam Montgomery’s turbulent history dates back to his teenage years when he was prosecuted as a juvenile and continues into last year when he was charged with stalking his estranged wife and three children at a New Hampshire home.

He was given a one-year sentence that was suspended for two years. He was ordered to undergo mental health counseling, records show. He’s currently described as homeless in court records.

A $100,000 reward has been offered for information leading to Harmony’s whereabouts, and anyone with information should call a 24-hour tip line at 603-203-6060.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.