(NewsNation Now) — Police on Monday concluded their search of the Manchester home where missing 7-year-old Harmony Montgomery last lived, according to the girl’s mother, who said the search didn’t yield any new revelations.
The girl’s mother, Crystal Sorey said she brought concerns about her daughter’s safety to police and child welfare workers before a missing person case was opened about a month ago.
Sorey last saw her daughter on a Facetime call days before Easter in 2019, she said. Harmony was 5 at the time and seemed frightened, Sorey said.
“I showed her her basket. I said, ‘I’m coming in a couple of days. Mommy got you a basket,’” Sorey said. “I held on to the basket for a year and some change, hoping I’d have a chance to give it to her.”
A missing person case wasn’t opened for Harmony until late last year, despite Sorey’s efforts to communicate with her daughter, she said.
Sorey lost custody of Harmony in 2018, when the young girl went to live with her father, 31-year-old Adam Montgomery. On New Year’s Eve, Manchester police arrested Adam Montgomery on charges of felony second-degree assault, interference with custody and endangering the welfare of a child.
“I’m not gonna sit here and act like I’m innocent,” Sorey said. “I’m a recovering addict. When I gave birth to her, I didn’t know nothing about being a parent. I didn’t know nothing about getting in recovery. But I never stopped trying. I always went into program after program after program trying to prove to her and my family that I wasn’t going to stop until I got better.”
Sorey has since regained sobriety, court records show. She now says officials “dropped the ball on this one” and “let it slip through the cracks.”
The search for Harmony continued Monday as investigators looked through her last known home in Manchester and used hot water to thaw the ground so they could dig.
Sorey said she didn’t believe officers found anything in the home, and her gut tells her Harmony is still alive.
“A mother knows,” Sorey said. “You know when your baby’s not here anymore. You feel it the day that it happens.”
Another gut feeling led Sorey to call police Nov. 18 and report Harmony missing.
“I thought she was with her dad and he was just being a jerk,” Sorey said. “Really, that’s what I hoped was happening, you know? But in my heart, I knew something was wrong. Something was very wrong.”
Harmony’s uncle, Kevin Montgomery told police the girl had a black eye when he returned from a trip to Florida in July 2019 and that he notified DCYF.
He also told investigators that investigators that Harmony was subjected to forms of discipline that included being “spanked hard on the butt,” standing in the corner for hours and scrubbing the toilet with her toothbrush, court records show.
Prosecutors announced Thursday that Montgomery’s current wife, 31-year-old Kayla Montgomery, was arrested on one charge of felony welfare fraud. She is accused of failing to remove Harmony from the family’s account with the state’s Division of Family Assistance once she was no longer living with her and Adam Montgomery.
Representatives from Hillsborough Superior Court could not immediately be reached after hours Monday to provide further information about the case, including the name of any lawyers who might be representing Montgomery in the criminal case.