IIt’s been two weeks since the name Harmony Montgomery first made headlines across the United States when a missing persons investigation was launched to find the seven-year-old.
Since then, her father and stepmother have been arrested and charged.
The house she used to live in in Manchester, New Hampshire, was searched for several days in a row.
The reward for the information that led to its discovery exceeded $100,000.
But despite national attention and painstaking efforts to find the missing child, who is blind in one eye, investigators seem to have made little progress.
As of January 14, no direct charges have been brought against anyone in connection with Harmony’s disappearance, the search for the home has ended and Harmony’s whereabouts remain unknown.
At a press conference, Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenburg admitted he was “a bit disappointed”.
Despite the concern, the lack of progress may not be surprising since whoever has information about what happened to the young girl had more than two years at the start of the investigators.
Manchester Police said Harmony had not been seen since around October or November 2019 when she was five. However, it was not until December 2021 that the investigation into the missing persons began.
When was Harmony Montgomery last seen?
Harmony was last confirmed sighting by law enforcement on 11 September 2019 when Manchester Police officers were called to the house at 77 Guilford Street in Manchester where she had been living.
Harmony was living with her father Adam Montgomery, who had gained custody of his daughter in February 2019, as well as with his wife Kayla Montgomery and their children on the property at the time.
The young girl has been in and out of foster care for most of her life.
Then, in 2018, her mother, Crystal Suri, lost custody of her partly to drug use.
Aldenberg’s chief previously said the last police call to the property was in October 2019, but confirmed he had muddled the dates at a January 12 news conference.
Despite the date change, the police chief said investigators are still working to believe Harmony was last seen in October or November of that year.
This timeline appears to be based on police interviews and statements from various family members.
Ms Suri told police she had not been able to contact her since they spoke via video call in April 2019. After that, she said, Mr. Montgomery cut off all contact between her and her daughter.
Montgomery claimed to investigators that he last saw his daughter on Thanksgiving 2019, claiming that Mrs. Suri took her from Manchester to live with her.
The criminal complaint says Mr Montgomery claimed he believed his daughter was living with his ex-wife and did not “show much emotion or reaction” when officers said they were concerned about whether Harmony was alive when they called him in December.
His story also contradicted that of Mrs. Montgomery, who said she last saw Harmony the day after Thanksgiving when her husband said he was driving her to see Mrs. Suri.
Montgomery’s uncle Kevin Montgomery told investigators he had not seen Harmony or his nephew since late 2019 when she was five years old.
Who has been accused?
Harmony’s father and wife were arrested and charged in connection with the missing child in early January.
Mr. Montgomery was arrested on January 4 and charged with a second-degree felony, two counts of felonies of endangering the welfare of a child, and one misdemeanor of interfering with custody.
And on the assault charge, he is accused of “battering.” [Harmony] in her face” sometime in July 2019, which made her black in the eye, according to the criminal complaint.
Police interviews with other family members revealed that Mr. Montgomery was abusing his daughter, including giving her a black eye, forcing her to flush the toilet with her toothbrush and making her stand in the corner for hours as punishment.
Montgomery’s brother, Michael Montgomery, told investigators he had “concerns that Adam was physically abusive” to the child and was “too short” with her.
Kevin Montgomery said he noticed Harmony hit a black eye in July 2019, which his nephew admitted to hitting her in the face, according to the criminal complaint.
His nephew told him, “I hit her around this house.”
Kevin said he contacted DCYF at the time and also noted that Mr. Montgomery was subjecting Harmony to other forms of “abusive discipline” including flushing the toilet with her toothbrush and “hitting her hard on the butt”.
Montgomery has a history of violence and a long criminal record including a conviction for shooting a man in the head in a drug deal just six months before Harmony was born.
He was also convicted in 2010 of attacking two women at gunpoint.
Officials said Montgomery was not cooperating with the investigation and refused to reveal his daughter’s whereabouts.
The day after her husband’s arrest, Ms. Montgomery was arrested on one felony charge of welfare fraud for allegedly collecting fraudulently welfare benefits for a missing child between December 2019 and June 2021.
Ms. Montgomery, who has three children with her husband, is accused of fraudulently obtaining $1,500 in food stamp benefits intended for Harmony between December 2019 and June 2021 even though the girl was not living with them.
Prosecutors have now dropped the welfare fraud charge and added three new charges – one theft by deception and two misdemeanor charges of welfare fraud.
The charges accuse Ms Montgomery of making willfully false statements about the whereabouts of her stepdaughter in February and March 2021 in order to claim benefits.
While the couple have been charged with charges related to Harmony, no charges have been brought against anyone directly related to her disappearance.
Why has she not been reported missing for two years?
Questions are growing about how a young girl could not be seen for more than two years without any action by the authorities.
Several family members said they have raised concerns about Harmony’s safety with the New Hampshire Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) over the past two years.
Ms. Suri accused the authorities of “letting down” her daughter. She said she made several attempts to report her concerns to children’s services.
On November 18, she called Manchester Police, saying she believed her daughter was missing.
Police officers have contacted the New Hampshire Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) about the whereabouts of the missing child. Then, on December 27, DCYF reported that it was also unable to locate Harmony.
Manchester Police announced the start of a search on 31 December.
Emails surfaced this week, sent by Mrs. Suri to the Manchester mayor’s office, asking for help in finding her daughter.
“Please, I am begging for help finding my daughter,” she wrote on December 29.
Ms. Suri said that Mr. Montgomery had never enrolled their daughter in school and that she had missed “important doctor appointments since she was a child because of an eye disability”.
The emails were sent just two days before the police were finally informed of Harmony’s disappearance.
In addition to repeated attempts to sound the alarm, the family was known for children’s services.
Newly released records, released on January 12, emerged showing that police officers were called to the Guilford Street home at least 10 times between February 2019 – when Mr. Montgomery was detained at Harmony – and when she was last seen in the fall.
Reports ranged from allegations of domestic disturbances to animal care and concerns about living conditions in the home.
DCYF has been notified of some incidents.
A neighbor said independent That it was a “bad situation” on the property describes a lot of people who lived there at different times, adults were seen arguing on the street, junk left piling up in the yard, and electricity cut at some point.
Officers saw missing 5-year-old child in September 2019: Police chief in Harmony Montgomery case
“We didn’t mix with them because it was a bad situation,” she said.
“There were a lot of different people living there, piles of trash in the driveway, and junk outside.
“The electricity went out, they ran the generator all summer, and the wires run through the window.”
The neighbor said the Montgomerys were “essentially sitting” in the house when he fell into foreclosure and Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery were refusing to leave.
She said she went away for Thanksgiving in 2019 and came back to find the family had finally packed up and moved.
This coincides with Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery claiming that they last saw the little girl.
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu announced January 12 that the DCYF is conducting an internal review of its handling of the Harmony case.
However, the governor defended the state’s action, saying, “As soon as we found out that this child may not have been to school for some time, we were informed.
“The team did it. It wasn’t a delay. It wasn’t sitting in a file on someone’s desk.”
Where is Harmony?
Investigators have revealed few details about what they believe may have happened to Harmony.
The Guilford Street property has been the focus of much of the research with detectives seen in the house and backyard for several days.
However, Manchester Police said the search ended there. It is not clear if anything of interest was revealed and no other sites were identified for the searches.
About 300 tips have been received from the public so far and the reward for information about Harmony’s disappearance has exceeded $100,000.
Leader Aldenberg insisted on January 12 that they are still working on the belief that Harmony is alive.
However, he admitted he was “a bit disappointed” with the case so far and appealed to the public to provide information.
“There are those who know something,” he added.
Anyone with information is asked to call or text 603-203-606