Episode 025: Harmony Montgomery

January 31, 2022

A little girl has been missing for two years, but no one noticed. How did this happen? Where is Harmony?

Episode Media
Most recent image of Harmony Montgomery at age 5
Harmony Montgomery
Harmony Montgomery
Missing Poster (Manchester Police Department)
Adam Montgomery (Manchester PD)
Kayla Montgomery (Manchester PD)
Episode Sources
Episode Transcript

Welcome back to Bite-Sized Crime. This week I’m bringing you a recent case that has taken even the most hardened true crime fans by surprise. A disclaimer before we begin: Cases involving children are often the most difficult to process; this episode discusses sensitive topics, so listener discretion is advised.

The news about Harmony Montgomery broke on New Year’s Eve 2021. An adorable little girl, just 7 years old, was missing. Thousands of children are reported missing every year, but this story was different, strange. Harmony had been missing since October of 2019, a full two years before her disappearance was reported to law enforcement.

Naturally, the public outcry was immediate. How did this happen? How had this child slipped through the cracks? How did no one notice that she was gone for two whole years?

Investigators began to piece together a timeline, which I will attempt to break down for you here. Keep in mind that this case is still unfolding, and there are still so many questions that need answers.

In 2018, Harmony, then four years old, was living in Massachusetts with her mother, Crystal Sorey, and her two-year-old brother Jamison. Crystal was struggling with substance abuse at the time, and raising two small children alone was anything but easy. Harmony and Jamison moved in and out of foster care for several years, where Harmony took her role of big sister very seriously, taking care of Jamison at each foster home they visited.

But eventually, the Department of Children and Families stepped in, and Crystal officially lost custody of her kids in July of 2018. The siblings continued to move together through the foster care system for a while, but in February of 2019, Harmony was placed with her father, Adam Montgomery, who lived across the border in New Hampshire.

From here, the legal matters surrounding Harmony’s case get a little confusing, and honestly, frustrating. On February 22, 2019, Adam Montgomery was granted full custody of Harmony in the Lawrence Juvenile Court in Massachusetts. But the decision was abrupt and unexpected – the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth and Families was in the middle of conducting a home study of Adam Montgomery and his wife Kayla. The judge’s sudden decision to grant custody put a stop to the home study, which likely would have determined that Adam was unfit to have custody of his daughter.

Adam Montgomery’s criminal record stretches back to at least 2007. It is a long list of violent crimes and drug-related offenses, including convictions for attacking two women at gunpoint in 2010 and shooting a man in the head during a drug deal in 2014, just months before Harmony was born. He is also an unofficial suspect in a 2008 shooting death.

Adding to the complications in the case, because Adam lived in New Hampshire but Harmony was coming from Massachusetts, there should have been an agreement between the states – an ICPC, or Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children – which ensures that any child placed in care across state lines is receiving proper services and regular check-ins. But it’s unclear if Massachusetts ever requested an ICPC for Harmony or whether New Hampshire just opted not to enter into one. Legally, an ICPC isn’t required when a child is placed with a biological parent, but it’s commonly done when multiple states are involved, and it definitely should have been put in place in light of Adam’s criminal history.

Unfortunately, this lack of interstate agreement meant that the Massachusetts Department of Children and Family was no longer involved in Harmony’s case, and it made things much more complicated for New Hampshire’s Division for Children, Youth and Families to keep an eye on Harmony’s welfare.

Just days after the custody hearing, Adam’s wife Kayla applied for government assistance in Harmony’s name, adding the little girl to her account with the New Hampshire Department of Health & Human Services Division of Family Assistance. In her change report, Kayla indicated that Harmony was now living with them full-time.

While all this was going on, Crystal was working hard to regain her sobriety and keep in touch with her children. In April of 2019, she spoke with Harmony on FaceTime, showing her the Easter basket she had purchased and telling her that she would come see her in a few days. But that was the last time she saw her daughter. After that call, Adam and Kayla cut off all communication with Crystal and blocked her on social media. Crystal later told investigators that Harmony seemed frightened during the call.

In July, Adam’s uncle visited the Montgomery home and noticed that Harmony had a black eye. Adam told him that he had “bashed her around this house.” There were also other signs of abuse, enough that the uncle called child services to file a report.

Meanwhile, Crystal was still trying to make contact with Harmony again. After multiple failed attempts, she called the police and child services to ask for help. Because court records involving juveniles are usually sealed, we don’t know what actions were taken as a result of Crystal’s request for help or Adam’s uncle’s report. But in October of 2019, police were called to the Montgomery home. We don’t know what prompted the call, but police indicated that they made contact with the family and confirmed Harmony’s whereabouts.

For a while, that was the last known sighting of Harmony Montgomery. She was not enrolled in school in New Hampshire, and no records were requested from her preschool educational programs in Massachusetts. This oversight may have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic when 2020 rolled around, but at five years old, Harmony was a special needs child – she was legally blind in one eye – and she should have been enrolled in kindergarten where she could receive services. But there is no record of her enrollment at any school in New Hampshire, and unfortunately, no one noticed.

In November 2019, Jamison was adopted by a family in Massachusetts. When they inquired about Harmony, his adoptive fathers were told that she had been placed with family and her case was closed. Sadly, while Jamison was beginning his new life with a wonderful family, Harmony’s home life was in chaos.

On November 27th, the Montgomery family was evicted from their house in Manchester, New Hampshire. Adam, Kayla, Harmony, and Adam and Kayla’s two other children were now without a roof over their heads in the cold New England winter. Witnesses reported that the family was living in their cars in the North End of Manchester.

Multiple people saw Harmony with Adam and Kayla over the next week, but after that – around December 6th – Adam and Kayla were only seen with the other two children. Harmony was nowhere around. A five-year-old girl who wasn’t enrolled in school was suddenly not with her custodial parent? But again, no one seemed to notice.

No one except Crystal, that is. She had regained her sobriety and was desperately trying to reconnect with Harmony. She had been in contact with Jamison and his adoptive family, and she wanted so badly to arrange a reunion between her children. She tried calling schools in Manchester and surrounding towns, but none of them had heard of Harmony Montgomery. Crystal even tried visiting addresses where Adam had previously lived, as well as addresses where she thought he might have lived. But she was unsuccessful.

Finally, in November of 2021, almost three years since she had spoken to her daughter and two years since anyone had seen the little girl, Crystal called the Manchester Police Department and reported Harmony missing.

Investigators found the whole situation alarming. Not only was there a two-year gap in information, they were dealing with multiple agencies and court systems across two states. They immediately reached out to child services for assistance in locating the Montgomery family. They checked every address associated with Adam and Kayla, but they were nowhere to be found.

It took nearly a month, but when investigators were finally able to speak with Adam and Kayla, the story got even more complicated. They said they hadn’t seen Harmony since Thanksgiving of 2019, before they had gotten evicted from their home. Adam claimed that Crystal had come to pick up Harmony and had taken her back to Massachusetts. Kayla claimed that Adam told her he was driving Harmony up to Massachusetts to drop her off at Crystal’s house. But Crystal denies both of these versions of events. The last time she spoke with Harmony was on that FaceTime call in April 2019. This was corroborated by an ex-boyfriend who was living with her at the time of Harmony’s disappearance.

Despite the Montgomerys’ insistence that Harmony wasn’t living with them after Thanksgiving of 2019, Kayla continued to file for government assistance for Harmony well into 2021. It wasn’t until June of that year that Kayla filed a change report saying that Harmony had gone back to live with her mother. By October of 2021, Kayla and Adam had separated, and Adam had been charged with stalking Kayla and her children.

On December 31, 2021, the Manchester Police Department held a press conference, announcing that 7-year-old Harmony Montgomery was missing. They hoped that bringing the case to the public’s attention would generate new leads that might lead to Harmony.

On January 4, 2022, Adam and Kayla Montgomery were arrested on charges in connection with Harmony’s case. Adam was charged with second-degree assault, interference with custody, and endangering the welfare of a child. Kayla was charged with one count of welfare fraud. They both have pleaded not guilty.

Harmony’s case has reopened some old wounds, reviving the conversation about the child welfare system in the United States and pitting agencies against each other. Officials from New Hampshire and Massachusetts immediately began pointing fingers at each other. The governor of New Hampshire placed the blame on the Massachusetts court system for letting Adam have custody of Harmony in the first place. But Massachusetts wasn’t the only state that let Harmony slip through the cracks. New Hampshire failed to follow up with Harmony’s case once she crossed the border and became their responsibility.

Harmony was failed by the system, by the adults who should have protected her. She disappeared without anyone noticing. And now, two years later, investigators are playing catch-up, trying to find a missing child with little evidence of where she may have gone.

This is still an ongoing investigation, and the Manchester Police Department is committed to seeing it through. There is a reward for information leading to Harmony’s whereabouts.

You can visit the podcast website at bitesizedcrimepod.com to see the most recent photos of Harmony. She is described as having blonde hair, blue eyes, standing around 4′0″ tall, and weighing approximately 50 lbs. She is legally blind in her right eye and may be wearing glasses. If you have any information about her disappearance, please contact the Manchester Police Department at 603-668-8711.

Case Updates

Updated January 2023 – In August of 2022, the New Hampshire Attorney General announced that they believed Harmony was murdered in early December of 2019, when she was just five years old. Her case was officially named a homicide investigation.

In October of 2022, Adam Montgomery was charged with second-degree murder, falsifying evidence, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with a witness. Court documents show that Kayla Montgomery admitted to lying to police at Adam’s request before eventually telling investigators that Adam had beaten Harmony to death on December 7, 2019. Kayla took a plea deal and agreed to testify against Adam in exchange for a lesser sentence on perjury charges.

On January 26, 2023, Adam Montgomery was officially indicted by a grand jury on the charge of second-degree murder. Harmony’s mother Crystal spoke with WMUR after the announcement, saying, “It’s relief. It’s, you know, anger that he still hasn’t said where she is… Even if it’s the bare minimum of what I get, I just want her back. I just want her back home.”

Updated February 2024 – In February of 2024, Adam Montgomery went on trial. Kayla Montgomery testified that after being evicted from their home, she and Adam and Harmony had been living in their car, and Adam was angry that Harmony kept having bathroom accidents. Kayla said that Adam punched Harmony in the face and head over and over again until she lost consciousness. Hours later, they realized that the little girl was dead. According to Kayla, Adam stuffed her body in a duffel bag and spent the next three months moving it around from place to place, including a ceiling vent at a homeless shelter and a freezer at his workplace.

On February 22, 2024, a jury found Adam Montgomery guilty of second-degree murder, second-degree assault, falsifying physical evidence, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with witnesses and informants. He faces a sentence of 35 years to life, which a judge will hand down later this year.

After the verdict was read, Harmony’s mother Crystal told reporters that she was relieved, but still determined to find her daughter. “I’m finally feeling relieved that there’s some justice being served. Obviously, it’s not over, but I have a little bit of peace knowing that he’s being held accountable, because he thought he was so untouchable and that she didn’t matter and nobody would miss her, and he was so wrong. He was so wrong… I’m never going to give up. Not until she’s home and not until things are changed, because this can’t keep happening…”

Investigators are still actively seeking leads that may result in the recovery of Harmony’s remains. If you have any information, please contact the Manchester Police tip line at 603-932-8997.