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Adam Montgomery denied harming his daughter Harmony when he was arrested in January

The father of Harmony Montgomery, the 5-year-old girl who authorities believe was killed in Manchester, N.H., in December 2019, denied harming his daughter after he was arrested in January on a charge of assaulting her and lashed out at a detective for his treatment when he was taken into custody.

“Nobody comes out there like that for a second-degree assault charge,” Adam Montgomery told Detective John Dunleavy in an interrogation room at the Manchester police station, referring to the SWAT team that converged on him and his girlfriend on Jan. 4.

Adam Montgomery of Manchester, N.H. Manchester Police Department via AP, File

The recording was played Wednesday in a New Hampshire courtroom during a pre-trial hearing in the case against Montgomery, who is charged with multiple crimes, including allegedly injuring his daughter.

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Dunleavy at one point asked Montgomery during the interview if he could “promise” that Harmony was alive.

“You’re going to play the same word games that they played with me the other day,” Montgomery responded, referring to an interaction he had with police days earlier.

“It’s not word games,” Dunleavy said. “We want to know. This isn’t going to go anywhere. Like, this isn’t going to stop. So, either get on the bus now or get run over.”

Montgomery replied that he had nothing to say. “I want a lawyer with me,” he said.

Harmony’s body remains missing. No one has been charged with her murder.

Montgomery told Dunleavy that he’d been “arrested for worse charges, they don’t come out and throw [expletive] flash-bangs at my girlfriend’s car, and ram us into the [expletive] guardrail. They don’t do that.”

Dunleavy later told Montgomery “your daughter had some injuries, that you know about when you lived on Guilford Street” in Manchester.

“No I do not,” Montgomery replied. “What are you referring to?”

“I’m referring to her having some good marks,” Dunleavy said. “Marks that were left on her by you.”

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“Absolutely not,” Montgomery said. “I have nothing else to say.”

He later asked Dunleavy, “Who’s telling you these things?” The detective said people close to Montgomery had provided information.

“Obviously not,” Montgomery said.

“Well, maybe at the time, maybe not anymore,” Dunleavy replied.

He said he wanted to give Montgomery a chance to defend himself and didn’t want him “to be painted as a monster.”

“Well, that’s what you guys are already doing,” Montgomery replied. “It’s just the way you guys are going about it.”

The hearing is ongoing.

Another Manchester police detective, Scott Riley, took the stand after Dunleavy and testified about an interaction he had with Montgomery on the afternoon of Dec. 31, days before his arrest. Riley handed Montgomery a court order advising him that child protection officials had taken formal custody of Harmony, who at that point was still considered missing.

“I just explained to him that the order compels him to help the Manchester Police Department with locating his daughter Harmony,” Riley testified. “He asked me again, ‘Am I under arrest? Can I leave? I’m not answering any questions.’ I stated to him, you know, him being her father, ‘You owe it to her to tell us where she is and follow this order.’ And he said ‘I’m not answering any questions.’”

Montgomery appeared in court in an orange jail jumpsuit, with a neatly trimmed beard and a tear-drop tattoo under his left eye. He also had a large tattoo of the Joker villain on the left side of his neck.

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Law enforcement officials said last month that they believe Harmony, whose case had drawn intense public scrutiny since her biological mother Crystal Sorey reported her missing in November, had been killed nearly two years earlier.

Montgomery is currently jailed on the assault charge, 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 Advocate released an unsparing report that documented failures 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.

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 had previously searched a different Manchester address where Harmony had lived.

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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.