Kayla Montgomery waives arraignment on newest charges, hearing set for June 9

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Kayla Montgomery, left, looks back at her attorney Paul Garrity as she is escorted out of court Jan. 24, 2022, following an arraignment and bail hearing scheduled in State of NH vs. Kayla Montgomery. File Photo/Jessica Rinaldi, Globe Staff

MANCHESTER, NH – Kayla Montgomery, stepmother to a missing 7-year-old girl, waived arraignment Wednesday on charges of possessing a stolen rifle

Montgomery, 31, is already detained in the Valley Street jail accused of theft and welfare fraud alleging she obtained more than $1,500 in food stamps while claiming that Harmony Montgomery was living with her and her husband, Adam Montgomery, when she wasn’t.  The couple is now estranged.

Harmony disappeared when she was 5 years old.  No one has seen her since late November/December 2019.

Montgomery was to be arraigned Wednesday in Hillsborough County Superior Court Northern District on two counts of receiving stolen property.

According to the complaints, between Sept. 29, 2019, and Oct. 22, 2019, she retained the property of another, a rifle belonging to CF, knowing it had been stolen or believing it had probably been stolen.

Prosecutors have made a plea offer in her theft and welfare fraud case although terms of that offer have not been disclosed.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Jesse O’Neill said at a hearing last week that the offer was only made because the state is required to do so.

All of the offenses Montgomery is charged with are unrelated to her stepdaughter’s disappearance.  That investigation is ongoing.

The search for Harmony began late last year when police learned that the child hadn’t been seen for more than two years.

Montgomery was arrested on the theft and welfare fraud charges at a Lake Avenue family shelter where she was staying with her three children.

Montgomery is estranged from her husband, Adam Montgomery, 32. He obtained custody of his daughter, Harmony, on Feb. 22, 2019, according to Lawrence, Mass. Juvenile Court.

On that date, Kayla Montgomery added Harmony to her NH-DHHS, New Hampshire Division of Family Assistance, account.

Montgomery continued to collect food stamps for the child from Dec. 2019 through June 2021, even though she was missing, according to court records.

 Kayla told detectives she believed Adam brought Harmony to her mother, Crystal Sorey, 31, in Devens, Mass., the day after Thanksgiving 2019.

She told investigators she hasn’t seen Harmony since.

Adam Montgomery waived arraignment last week on eight new felony charges involving the theft of a rifle and gun; the dates are the same as those on Kayla’s complaints with the weapons belonging to CF.

He also is charged with being an armed career criminal, which on conviction carries a mandatory 10 to 40 years in state prison.

He has been detained in the Valley Street jail since his arrest on New Year’s Eve 2021 on charges of child endangerment and second-degree assault.  He is accused of blackening Harmony’s eye in the summer of 2019.

Another hearing in Kayla Montgomery’s case is set for June 9.

About this Author

Pat Grossmith

Pat Grossmith is a freelance reporter.