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Search of N.H. residence where father, stepmother of Harmony Montgomery lived has ended, authorities say

A refrigerator was taken out of an apartment Tuesday on Union Street, was wrapped up, and then placed on a truck. Law enforcement agencies are at 644 Union Street in Manchester, New Hampshire, for the continued investigation of the disappearance of then 5-year-old Harmony Montgomery in 2019. 644 Union Street is a focus of the investigation as it is a location where Adam and Kayla Montgomery previously lived.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

Authorities said Wednesday that the law enforcement search of a Manchester, N.H., home where the father and stepmother of Harmony Montgomery once lived has come to an end, as investigators continue to look for the young girl who went missing in 2019.

New Hampshire Attorney General John M. Formella’s office confirmed Wednesday that the search of the apartment complex located at 644 Union St., which was conducted into the evening Tuesday, had finished. No information was provided about the items investigators seized from the residence.

“Due to the ongoing investigation, no additional information will be released at this time,” the statement said. “Officials ask the public to respect the privacy of the current residents of 644 Union Street and to stay off of their property as the investigation continues.”

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Formella’s office said the search “for Harmony continues and law enforcement is still requesting the public’s assistance in locating her. If you have any information please call or text the 24-hour tip line dedicated to Harmony Montgomery’s rescue at 603-203-6060.”

Manchester, N.H.-01/04/22- Manchester Police provided these photos of missing Harmony Montgomery . John Tlumacki/Globe Staff (metro)John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Investigators in January had searched a different Manchester address where Harmony had lived before her disappearance.

According to authorities, her father Adam Montgomery told investigators he last saw Harmony around Thanksgiving 2019, when he gave her to her mother, Crystal Sorey, a claim prosecutors allege is false. Montgomery has been in jail since January on charges that include felony second-degree assault against Harmony, interference with custody, and endangering the welfare of a child. He has pleaded not guilty.

Kayla Montgomery, 31, Adam Montomgery’s wife and Harmony’s stepmother, is charged with lying to a grand jury investigating the girl’s disappearance and collecting welfare benefits after the child was no longer living with the couple. She has pleaded not guilty.

Shortly before noon Tuesday, a box truck pulled up to the Union Street apartment and authorities unloaded what appeared to be a new refrigerator from the vehicle and took it inside. About two hours later, investigators were seen wheeling what looked like an older refrigeration unit out of the building, along with several other large items wrapped in brown paper.

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When Harmony was born in 2014 in Massachusetts, her father was incarcerated, awaiting trial on charges that he shot a man in the head during a drug deal in Haverhill, Mass. Adam Montgomery first met his daughter when she was 6 months old and was brought to the prison for a supervised visit, officials said.

Harmony was declared missing in December, more than two years after she was last seen in the custody of her father in Manchester, N.H. In an unsparing report last month, the Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate concluded that the Massachusetts child welfare system had systematically overlooked Harmony’s needs.

The girl originally came under the care of the Department of Children and Families when she was 2 months old, after child welfare workers became concerned her mother was struggling with substance use disorder.

Between August 2014 and January 2018, DCF removed Harmony from her mother’s care three times over concerns about Sorey’s substance use and placed her in the custody of foster parents, who worried the girl was traumatized by frequent moves, the report said.

In Massachusetts, the DCF team assigned to Harmony’s case didn’t delve into her father’s personal history or hold him accountable for meeting goals they had set for him, the child advocate’s report found.

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Adam Montgomery first expressed interest in being involved in Harmony’s upbringing in September 2016, more than one year after he was released from prison. While incarcerated, Montgomery had two visits with the girl, the report said.

By the time he was granted custody in February 2019 by a Massachusetts judge, Adam Montgomery had spent just 40 hours with his daughter, the report said.

The judge, Mark Newman, awarded custody of Harmony to her father over the objection of DCF’s lawyer and without requiring an assessment of his suitability to care for the girl, as mandated by DCF regulations and Massachusetts court decisions, the report said.

Newman, who’s retired but still hears cases on recall status, has declined to comment on the report through a Mass. judiciary spokesman.

Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.


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