Kayla Montgomery, 31, is accused of lying that the child was living with her to collect welfare benefits. She’s been ordered to have daily check-ins with police, continue her substance abuse treatment and have no contact with Harmony’s father.
Kayla Montgomery, charged with theft by deception, has been in jail since January and was recently arrested on unrelated charges of receiving stolen firearms. She’s pleaded not guilty.
Harmony was last seen in 2019, when she was five years old. Authorities, however, didn’t know she was missing until last year.
The little girl’s father, Adam Montgomery, is jailed on an assault charge alleging that he struck Harmony in the face in July 2019. Also accused of unrelated firearms theft charges, he has pleaded not guilty.
Adam Montgomery has a history of substance abuse and violent criminal history,as NewsNation’s previously reported. He and Kayla Montgomery were awarded custody of Harmony, but they surrendered her to the child welfare system in Massachusetts while her father was in prison. After going from foster home to foster home, Harmony was eventually placed in her father’s care again.
A report released by the state of New Hampshire shows the family lived in with no electricity. The report said someone made an anonymous call to New Hampshire’s Division of Youth and Family Services alleging potential abuse of Harmony. Harmony was found to have a black eye, which Adam Montgomery admitted he caused, according to the report.
Earlier this week, it was reported that an independent state watchdog in Massachusetts concluded the child welfare system failed Harmony.
“Our essential and most important finding in this investigation is that unfortunately, and with serious consequences, Harmony Montgomery’s individual well-being and safety were not prioritized or considered on equal footing with her parents’ right to care for her in any aspect of the decision made by any state entity,” Maria Mossaides, director of the Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate, said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.