Manchester Police Chief, on search for missing girl: ‘I am in rescue mode right now… This is not a recovery.’

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Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg, foreground, Assistant Chief Steve Mangone, left, and Det. Capt. Sean Leighton, right, during a Jan. 3, 2022 news conference regarding the ongoing search for Harmony Montgomery, 7. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

⇒ Jan. 5, 2022: UPDATE: Father of Harmony Montgomery arrested, charged with second-degree assault, child endangerment


MANCHESTER, NH – A $12,250 reward is being offered for information leading to the whereabouts of a 7-year-old child who police say was last seen in October 2019.

Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg, at a news conference Monday afternoon at the police station, announced the award as well as a  tip line – 603-203-6060 – manned 24/7 by a police detective to receive information regarding Harmony Montgomery.

 Police only learned of the child’s disappearance last week and days later, on Friday, New Year’s Eve, held a press conference asking for the public’s help in locating her.

“I’m appealing to everyone,” said Aldenberg, his lip trembling while choking up.  “Help us find this little girl. Somebody knows something.  Do what’s right and call in.”

 He said he couldn’t emphasize enough that “someone out there knows something.”

Aldenberg declined to say if people were cooperating in the investigation, instead only saying that detectives have talked with many family members.

He also said the investigation involves his department, the New Hampshire Division of Child, Youth and Families (DCYF) and the Massachusetts  Department of Children and Families (DCF).  He also said an FBI representative is being apprised of the investigation should, at some point, the federal investigation agency need to become involved.

At a New Year’s Eve news conference, Police Chief Allen Aldenberg said that at one point Harmony was enrolled in school in Massachusetts.

Her mother Crystal Renee Sorey of Tampa, Fla., according to her Facebook page, is originally from Haverhill, Mass. 

Sorey, in Facebook postings, maintains that NH DCYF failed her daughter. 

“NEW HAMPSHIRE DCYF FAILED MY DAUGHTER!!! MYSELF & HER FAMILY HAVE FILED DOZENS OF REPORTS OF ABUSE & NEGLECT & NOTHING WAS DONE UNTIL I CALLED POLICE & WROTE A LETTER TO THE NH MAYOR!!!! This is ALL I WILL SAY UNTIL I AM ALLOWED TO SAY MORE CUZ I WILL NOT HINDER MY DAUGHTERS INVESTIGATION!!!!!” she wrote.

Lauren Smith, Mayor Craig’s Chief of Staff, confirmed “an individual wrote to our office last week in an email stating issues with DCYF and concern regarding a child. We responded back to that individual the same day.”  Asked if the issue was referred to police, she said, “We communicated to her that if she felt in any way a child was in danger to immediately call 911, or to send us information that we would relay to MPD. And then yes, we forwarded the information to the police.”

 

Above: Photos of Harmony Montgomery in 2019, when she was 5 years old. Here whereabouts are unknown and Manchester Police have poured resources into finding her since her family contacted police last week.


Aldenberg said police opened the investigation after being contacted by DCYF.

Sorey, contacted Monday, said she was going to the police station that morning for a polygraph.  She said she would speak to Manchester Ink Link afterward but that didn’t take place.

According to family members, Harmony’s father, Adam Montgomery, had custody of his daughter.

On Sunday, police searched the grounds of a house at 77 Gilford St., on the city’s West Side.  Montgomery’s mother at one time owned the property which has since been sold.

Aldenberg said the homeowner who lives there now has nothing to do with the investigation but is cooperating with police.  He asked the media to respect their privacy.

A Washington, D.C.-area family took the news that Harmony was missing particularly hard.

Blair Miller, a Boston 25 news correspondent based in Washington, D.C., in a social media post and a news broadcast, said he and his husband Johnathan adopted Jamison, Harmony’s biological brother, through Massachusetts DCF. 

At the time, he said DCF told them Harmony had been reunited with her father and was unavailable for adoption.

 In October 2019, Manchester police were called to a residence where Harmony was living at the time.

Aldenberg said the October 2019 date is the last time Harmony was seen by police and “another entity.”  

He would not comment about Harmony’s parents or say who has custody of her.

Aldenberg, who said he doesn’t think much of social media, said people should leave the investigation to police and not speculate. 

“We ask people not to play detective, not to play police officer,” he said.  “That is our job.”  

When asked if the parents of a 7-year-old child should know where she is, Aldenberg said that seems to be a “reasonable conclusion to draw.”  He said “who Harmony should have been with, she isn’t with,” but he did not identify that individual.

Police Chief Allen Aldenberg, center, spoke with emotion regarding the department’s search for Harmony Montgomery, 7. He is flanked by Asst. Chief Steve Mangone and Det. Captain Sean Leighton. right. Photo/Pat Grossmith

A reporter pointed out that he seemed emotional and he said it was because a 7-year-old child is missing.

“Quite frankly, enough is enough.  This is a 7-year-old girl. Let’s find her.  Let’s come together as a community and do the right thing.  I don’t think I’m asking a lot,” he said.

 Police, he said, are conducting the investigation as if Harmony were still alive.

“I am in rescue mode right now,” he said.  “This is not a recovery.  All efforts are focused on Harmony being alive and we are going to do everything we can to find her in that condition.  Until somebody shows me something that points to that she is not, then that may change my answer, my perception.  But for now, we are going to operate under the assumption that she is alive somewhere and somebody knows something.”

The reward is being offered by Crimeline, which posted its maximum allowable reward of $2,500, and businessmen Dick Anagnost and Arthur Sullivan, who each put up $5,000.

Asked how did two years go by before DCYF flagged the case to law enforcement, he said that was a question he hopes ultimately will be answered.

“For now, the focus is locating her.  If there was some flaw in the system – and I’m not saying there was – where was it and how is it going to be addressed.  That’s a very fair question and hopefully, we’ll get an answer to it,” he said.


 

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Pat Grossmith

Pat Grossmith is a freelance reporter.