Tim Flanagan, Jr., has been wondering for nearly three years why his niece Harmony was ever given to her father.
"Massachusetts dropped the ball with handing the baby over to a career criminal," said Flanagan. "To see one state blaming another state, it’s kind of sad."
Harmony Montgomery was last seen at a Manchester home in October 2019, when she was 5. Manchester police were notified last December that the child had not been seen in two years.
Since then, police have searched the house where she was last seen. Harmony Montgomery’s father and stepmother have been arrested on charges related to her well-being.
Flanagan is the brother of Harmony’s mom.
"When a state steps in to be the arbiter of truth and safety, there is no oops," he said. "You can’t just mess up. These are kids lives that we’re putting at stake."
Flanagan is talking about the decision in 2019 made by a judge in Lawrence, Massachusetts to give legal custody of Harmony to her father Adam Montgomery who was living in Manchester, New Hampshire.
The fateful move has put Massachusetts and New Hampshire at odds with each other, with Gov. Chris Sununu criticizing the Massachusetts court system in a scathing letter.
"Like everybody else I feel a tremendous amount of pain associated with what happened to Harmony," Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker said in response on Wednesday.
Court records pertaining to juvenile cases are confidential so it’s unknown what went into the judge’s decision.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court confirms it is investigating.
So is the Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate.
"I think we should let the Office of the Child Advocate do her job," said Baker. "She’s a very talented, experienced person who will have access to information that’s not available to many of the rest of us, and she has no dog in this hunt, this is 100% an independent review."
In a statement, the Child Advocate, Maria Mossaides, said this about the status of the case:
"The OCA is continuing an administrative review of electronic and physical records in the Harmony Montgomery case and is exploring questions as they arise during this process," Mossaides said in the statement. "We are grateful for the cooperation we have received from the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families and the Massachusetts Juvenile Court. We continue to hope for Harmony’s safe return.”
It's not all on Massachusetts, Flanagan says; New Hampshire is at fault, too.
"There were plenty of opportunities for New Hampshire and their DCYF system and police department to clean up the mess," he said. "Pointing the finger doesn’t do anything."
More New Hampshire News
Harmony’s mom wants answers.
"My daughter was failed by everybody," Crystal Sorey told NBC10 Boston earlier this month.
But most importantly, she wants her daughter found.
"I just wanted her to have a better life than I did," Sorey said. "And when she comes home, I’ll make sure I give her that."
Police have received hundreds of tips in the case and the reward fund has grown to more than $144,000. Anyone with information can call the 24-hour tip line at (603) 203-6060.