MANCHESTER, NH – Crystal Sorey has been walking a long and difficult road due to addiction, which ultimately cost her the custody of two children.
Now living sober, she is ready to rebuild her life. But there is a piece of her past – and her heart – that she’s been trying to recover in a desperate drama that recently became public – after Manchester Police became involved.
Her oldest child, 7-year-old Harmony Montgomery, is missing. She has been “lost” to a system that allowed the child’s father, Adam Montgomery, to have full custody – even though his past includes court documented incidents of violence, drug use and sales, and two prison sentences, including an 18-month sentence for shooting a man in the head during a drug deal gone wrong in 2014, the same year Harmony was born.
Since losing custody of her children and regaining her sobriety, Sorey had unsuccessfully tried to locate Montgomery and reconnect with Harmony. She says she and other family members followed every lead they had and have made “more than 80 calls” to child and youth protective services both in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, but no one followed up with her.
Sorey says that she was only heard and action, finally taken, after all else failed.
On November 18, 2021, Mayor Joyce Craig’s office received a communication from Sorey asking for help. Sorey says that in that communication she said she was prepared to go to the media with her story if no one could help her. Within hours a detective from Manchester Police contacted her and said they were looking into Harmony’s whereabouts. Within 24 hours she heard from a “Supervisor O’Brien” from NH Division of Children, Youth and Families, who told her they were investigating. Police searched for Adam Montgomery, going to addresses they had for him and when they couldn’t find them, they referred the case to DCYF. It was 39 days after that, that DCYF notified police they couldn’t find Harmony.
Since then police located and arrested Adam Montgomery, who is charged with child endangerment for an incident of abuse reported by one of his relatives dating back to July of 2019. Also arrested was Kayla Montgomery, charged with Welfare fraud after a review of records found that she had been collecting food stamps for Harmony beginning in February of 2019, and which she continued to receive even after she claimed that Harmony was returned to Sorey around Thanksgiving of 2019.
Above: Photos of investigators at 77 Gilford St., Manchester, over the weekend, the second time law enforcement has visited the last known address where Harmony Montgomery lived.
This past weekend Manchester Police returned to the address where Harmony was last known to live with Adam and Kayla Montgomery, 77 Gilford St., on the city’s West Side. Although police had searched the property on Jan. 2, they returned on January 8 and remained there on Jan. 9. On Saturday two men were observed at the scene appearing to assist the police. The logo on their clothing read Hager GeoScience, a Woburn, Mass., company that, according to the company website, indicates it specializes in using equipment to map and find voids in concrete slabs or the ground.
Detectives from Manchester police were seen removing a large paper bag, sometimes used to secure evidence. The bag was removed from the area of the search and placed into a police vehicle. Several large tarps were brought to the scene Saturday in a pickup truck. Police unloaded the large tarps and brought them to the side of the house just before sunset.
Sunday morning the tarps could be seen placed over the backyard. A trailer was parked in the driveway, the markings on the trailer indicate it is used to warm the ground. The trailer combined with the tarps is often used at construction sites in the winter months to thaw the ground so that crews can work and remove soil.
The street on Sunday was not blocked off by police, and as the rain came down there was no activity outside of the house. Crime scene tape could be seen extending from each corner of the house, securing the backyard.
As a second search at the Gilford Street residence was underway Saturday, Sorey and about a dozen friends and supporters gathered at Pine Island Park in Manchester, not far from the Gilford Street residence. Several media outlets were on hand and Sorey spoke openly about her struggles and her search for her daughter. They recalled how much Harmony loved feeding the ducks, which brought some laughter. They prayed for Harmony’s return, through tears.
Sorey explained that in 2018 she “slipped up” and went into another drug recovery program in Lowell, Mass. Harmony was 4 and her younger brother Jamison, about 18 months old when she was told they would not reunify her with her children. She lost custody of both children to the state of Massachusetts. Both children were placed in foster care. Eight months later, full custody of Harmony was granted to Adam Montgomery, who was married to Kayla Montgomery with whom he had three children. Jamison, who has a different father, became eligible for adoption and was adopted in November of 2019.
Sorey said that when she learned Montgomery had been given custody in February of 2019, she immediately tried to intervene on Harmony’s behalf, questioning the rationale for placing Harmony with her father, who had been in and out of trouble with the law since he was a teenager.
“I told DCYF a million times it was not a good idea. I knew something would happen. Nobody listened to me. I told them this man shouldn’t have her. He’s short-tempered with her. He had a short temper with me. He was very controlling, he was controlling with me and I knew with Harmony being his first-born, he had some kind of spite over me. His own blood family said the same thing – ‘Did you even look at his record?’ No. He barely went to visits. He barely tried.”
- According to court records, Montgomery was 17 in 2007 when he was arrested and charged with criminal threatening in Bedford, where he lived at the time, for pointing a knife at a girl and calling her a “little bitch.”
- In 2008, when he still was 17, he was indicted in Hillsborough County Superior Court Northern Division on first-degree assault and reckless conduct involving the alleged sale of Percocet. According to court records, he was accused of stabbing a youth in the thigh and tossing him out of a moving vehicle in Manchester. Both the first-degree assault and reckless conduct charges were nol-prossed. He pleaded guilty to criminal threatening and a probation violation and ended up serving 383 days, the amount of time he was held pre-trial.
- Six years later, in March 2014, when he was 24 – three months before Harmony’s birth – Montgomery was arrested in Haverhill, Mass., accused of shooting a man in the head during a January 24, 2014 incident. He was charged with armed robbery, armed assault to murder, carrying a firearm without a license and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building. The incident was the result of a drug deal gone bad. Montgomery told police he went to Haverhill to buy heroin. He ultimately pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 18 months in the house of corrections.
When contacted by the Ink Link for more information, the Office of the Child Advocate in Massachusetts referred a reporter to Massachusetts Department of Children & Families. Calls made to that office and the NH Office of the Child Advocate have not been returned as of Jan. 7. However, both NH and Mass. DCYF have previously said they are barred by federal and state law from commenting about a child’s case.
Sorey wants answers. She wants resolution; she wants Harmony back.
The last time she saw Harmony was Easter 2019 during a Facetime visit. She showed her daughter an Easter basket she had waiting for her.
“It was a Minnie Mouse basket. I held onto it for a year. That was the last time I laid eyes on her,” Sorey said.
Even then, during the Facetime call, Sorey says Montgomery appeared to be intimidating Harmony and muting the conversation to try and control what Harmony relayed to her mother.
“He never wanted to do any kind of co-parenting for her, it was always about what he could get out of having her,” Sorey said. “It was never for her. It was always out of spite,” Sorey said.
She said her daughter was visibly shaking and, after that, Montgomery cut off all communication with her and her family.
“We’re never giving up,” Sorey said. “We’re gonna bring her home. We’re never going to stop.”
- When worlds collide: D.C. couple who adopted Harmony Mongomery’s sibling choose to walk in the light on this dark road
- Search team returns to Gilford Street home where Harmony Montgomery last lived
- Father of Harmony Montgomery arrested, charged with second-degree assault, child endangerment
- Reward now $33K for information leading to a break in Harmony Montgomery missing child case
- Wife of missing girl’s dad arrested for welfare fraud – cashed in on food stamps for child who wasn’t there
- Court documents detail abuse by father of missing 7-year-old, discrepancies in narrative of child’s last known whereabouts
- Manchester Police Chief, on search for missing girl: ‘I am in rescue mode right now… This is not a recovery.’
- Police Chief pleads with public for leads as intensive search is on for 7-year-old last seen in 2019
- Police seek public’s help in finding 7-year-old last seen in 2019
Reporter Pat Grossmith and photographer Jeffrey Hastings contributed to this report.