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Judge revokes bail for stepmother of Harmony Montgomery

The Boston Globe 9/13/2022 Travis Andersen
Kayla Montgomery at her bail hearing at the Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester, N.H. on Tuesday. © Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff Kayla Montgomery at her bail hearing at the Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester, N.H. on Tuesday.

MANCHESTER, N.H. — The stepmother of Harmony Montgomery, the 5-year-old whom authorities believe was killed nearly two years before she was reported missing, had her bail revoked Tuesday for skipping a court hearing last week.

Kayla Montgomery, 32, was ordered held after a brief hearing in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester, N.H. She wore a face mask and an orange jail uniform and did not address the court during the proceedings.

Montgomery was arrested Friday in Manchester, one day after failing to show up for a court hearing. Prosecutors said in court papers she appeared to be under the influence of drugs at the time of her arrest.

She was previously charged with 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.

In court Tuesday, Kayla Montgomery’s lawyer did not object to a government motion to have her bail revoked but said he could seek bail at a later date.

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, 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 the girl’s murder and her body has not been found.

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 Advocate released a scathing report that documented manifold failures by the state’s child welfare agency, the Department of Children and Families, and the juvenile court to safeguard Harmony’s well-being.

Harmony came under DCF care 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 with 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.

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