An arrest warrant was issued Thursday for Harmony Montgomery’s stepmother after she failed to show up for a court hearing, prosecutors said.
Kayla Montgomery, 32, faces charges in New Hampshire of lying to a grand jury about her work commitments around the time of Harmony’s disappearance, lying to officials about Harmony’s whereabouts, and taking government benefits meant for the girl.
Kayla Montgomery’s lawyer couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Law enforcement officials announced last month that they believe Harmony, whose case had drawn intense public scrutiny since her biological mother Crystal Sorey reported her missing in November 2021, was killed in Manchester, N.H. in December 2019.
“I’m beyond saddened that we stand here today to announce that the disappearance of Harmony Montgomery is now officially a homicide investigation,” Manchester Police Chief Allen D. Aldenberg said at the time. “Every effort has been made to bring Harmony home to her family. Our commitment to bringing Harmony home has not wavered nor will it.”
No one has been charged with Harmony’s murder.
Her father, Adam Montgomery, is currently jailed on a number of charges, including allegedly assaulting Harmony in 2019, interfering with custody, and endangering the welfare of a child.
In February 2019, a Massachusetts juvenile court judge placed Harmony in her father’s care, although he had pleaded guilty five years earlier to shooting a man in the head during a drug deal in Haverhill.
Child welfare agencies in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, where Harmony was born in 2014 and lived in foster care for a time, came under scrutiny after authorities announced she was missing.
In May, the Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocatereleased an unsparing report that documented failures at every turn by the state’s child welfare agency and the juvenile court to safeguard Harmony’s well-being.
Harmony came under the care of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families when she was 2 months old because child welfare workers were concerned about Sorey’s struggle with substance use disorder. Adam Montgomery was incarcerated when Harmony was born and first met her during a supervised visit at the prison when she was 6 months old, according to the child advocate’s report.
Between August 2014 and January 2018, DCF removed Harmony from Sorey’s care three times and placed her in the custody of foster parents, the report said.
In June, authorities searched a Manchester home where Adam and Kayla Montgomery had previously lived but did not disclose details of what was seized. Law enforcement agents were seen bringing a refrigerator out of the residence, along with several other large items wrapped in brown paper. Investigators in January had searched a different Manchester address where Harmony had lived.
Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.
Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.