A man has been arrested in the case of his missing 7-year-old daughter, authorities in New Hampshire said Wednesday, the latest twist in the case of Harmony Montgomery's disappearance, which remains unsolved.
And new details in the investigation were made public Wednesday as Adam Montgomery, a 31 year-old from Manchester, was in court after his arrest Tuesday
Montgomery was arrested on a warrant charging him with felony second-degree assault arising form 2019 conduct against Harmony, as well as one misdemeanor charge of interference with custody and two misdemeanor charges of endangering the welfare of a child pertaining to Harmony, the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office said.
Despite the arrest, the search for Harmony continues, authorities said.
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Adam Montgomery was arraigned around noon in Hillsborough County Superior Court North Wednesday, but he did not appear in court after his arraignment and bail conditions were agreed to by lawyers.
Previously, Montgomery was sentenced to 18 months in prison after shooting a man in the head in Haverhill, Massachusetts. The Essex County District Attorney's Office said Montgomery shot the victim while trying to rob him in 2014. He pleaded guilty to charges of assault and battery with a deadly weapon, larceny from a person, carrying a gun without a license and firing a gun within 500 feet of a building.
As the Eagle Tribune reported at the time, before his guilty plea, Montgomery had been charged with armed assault to murder.
According to court documents, it was Harmony’s mother who first notified police in November of 2021 that her daughter was missing, but police were unable to find Adam Montgomery, who had legal custody.
"She said, 'As a mother, I have a gut feeling that something is not right,'" Kevin Montgomery, Adam's uncle, told NBC10 Boston.
Last week, the state's Division for Children, Youth and Families contacted police saying they couldn’t find the girl either.
"The loss of any little girl is tragic," said Jesse O'Neill, an assistant attorney general for New Hampshire. "A 7-year-old missing for two years, she's a daughter, she's a sister."
Harmony’s mom had lost custody to Adam Montgomery because of substance abuse issues, according to court documents. But when she regained sobriety, she started looking for Harmony -- her father allegedly blocked all contact.
The mother had been trying for months to find the child, even calling different schools. After hearing from DCYF last week, Manchester police eventually found him living in a car. He told police he gave Harmony to his mother around Thanksgiving 2019.
But police found his story inconsistent, and Montgomery eventually stopped cooperating.
Kevin Montgomery said he told police he observed Harmony with a black eye in the summer of 2019.
"I walked in the house, and Harmony had a black eye, like you see in a boxing match between two men," Kevin Montgomery said.
He was visiting the Manchester home and asked about the injury.
"He bashed her around the apartment, were his exact words," said Kevin Montgomery. "I might have it off a little bit, but that's pretty much what he said."
He also told investigators, according to court documents, he observed other forms of abusive discipline, including Harmony forced to stand in the corner for hours, and told to scrub the toilet with her toothbrush.
Kevin Montgomery says family members made multiple reports to New Hampshire's Division of Children, Youth and Families.
"I don't know how they missed it," he told NBC10 Boston.
A reward is being offered in connection with the case. The total on offer was increased on Wednesday to $43,000, Manchester police said.
Police said at a news conference Friday that they were only notified of Harmony's disappearance last week when they received a call from DCYF. She had not been seen since late 2019.
Police had not said who Harmony was supposed to be living with over the last two years.
"The circumstances surrounding this prolonged absence are very concerning and are being thoroughly investigated," the department said in a statement Friday.
Detectives have been investigating "non-stop" since becoming aware that Harmony was missing, the department added. They are working in conjunction with DCYF and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The FBI has also joined the investigation.
"At this time I have dedicated all available resources and personnel to locating Harmony. I encourage anyone to contact the Manchester Police Department with any relevant information which will help us in locating Harmony,” Police Chief Allen Aldenberg said Friday.
The last time Harmony was seen, Aldenberg said, was during a Manchester police call for service in October of 2019 at a residence in the city. He said it's possible she was seen somewhere outside of the city since that time, however.
"For us to have a two year delay, that is extremely concerning. That's not something that happens to us on a regular basis," he said. "It doesn't happen every day."
Aldenberg said investigators have spoken with "many family members," but wouldn't reveal whether that included her parents or who it was that reported her as missing. He said the last time she was enrolled in school was in Massachusetts.
No Amber Alert has been issued, he said, because investigators have not met the threshhold for issuing one, given that there is no specific information about who Harmony might be with or a vehicle she might be in.
New Hampshire's child advocate told NBC10 Boston Tuesday that this case is unusual.
"It's very rare that a child would not be accountable for two years," said Moira O'Neill, the child advocate for New Hampshire, an independent oversight agency that monitors all children's services provided by the state.
She can't go into specifics about Harmony's case, but said her office typically investigates whenever a report of a missing child comes in.
In a statement Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Services said, "State and federal law requires us to protect the confidentiality of children and families served by and individuals engaged with the Division of Children, Youth and Families."
Aldenberg has said he would like to know why it took so long for Harmony to be reported missing, but for now, he's focused on trying to find her.
"We have to operate under the assumption that she's alive and well somewhere. And somebody knows something," he said.
Harmony is described as 4 feet tall, weighing about 50 pounds, with blond hair, blue eyes and glasses.
Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call Manchester police at (603) 668-8711 or lead investigator Detective Jack Dunleavy at (603) 792-5561. Anonymous tips can also be called in to the Manchester Crimeline (603) 624-4040.