New Hampshire prosecutors revealed harrowing details about the way Adam Montgomery reduced his five-year-old daughter’s remains to ‘barely skin and bones” after allegedly murdering her in 2019.
Montgomery, 34, is facing trial in Manchester on second-degree murder charges in connection with Harmony Montgomery’s killing. Montgomery has said he intended to plead guilty to two lesser charges of abuse of a corpse and falsifying evidence.
Opening arguments finally began on Thursday following a delay on Wednesday so jurors could go on a view tour of key locations in the case.
Presenting the disturbing case to the jury panel, a state prosecutor detailed the great lengths that Montgomery went to conceal and abuse his daughter’s corpse — and how he stored the remains in a walk-in freezer at a restaurant where he worked.
After Harmony was killed on 7 December 2019, her father, stepmother Kayla Montgomery, and the couple’s two infant children moved in with Kayla’s mother. At that time, Montgomery reportedly kept Harmony’s remains inside a red freezer with a white lid.
The family later moved to a shelter, where Montgomery then hid Harmony’s body inside a ceiling vent.
“He compressed and contorted her body into this bag,” the prosecution said while showing a medium-sized tote bag.
The state said that when investigators returned to the room two years later, they saw deep blood stains in the ceiling vent and smelled decomposition.
“And surrounding Harmony’s blood, all that was left of her .... the defendant’s fingerprints and palm prints, froze in there for a time,” the prosecution said.
After neighbours began to complain about the smell, Montgomery reportedly brought the bag with Harmony’s remains to work with him every day. At the time, Montgomery worked as a cook and dishwasher at the since-closed Portland Pie Company.
“[The bag] stood out to people, because he placed it in the freezer during his shifts,” a prosecutor said. “He brought it with him regularly to work and he stored it in a freezer where the company kept food, and ingredients. People saw him bringing that in and out. They couldn’t have imagined what that bag contained.”
Montgomery began discussing ways to dispose of Harmony’s body in March 2020, after he and Kayla Montgomery moved to an apartment on Union Street with their children.
“He discussed using a saw to cut her up. He discussed using lime to further decompose her so she couldn’t be found,” the prosecution said. “Remember, he believed that if there was no body there could be no evidence and he could get away with this.”
The state said that he compressed the sealed bag with Harmony’s remains and added lime to the bag.
“Thinking that it would eat away anything left of her,” the prosecution said. “He spent most of the day in that bathroom compressing Harmony.”
According to the prosecution, Montgomery took Harmony’s frozen remains and put them in the tub, running hot water to further manipulate what was left of the body. Kayla Montgomery then walked inside the bathroom and allegedly saw Montgomery
She saw that Harmony was largely skin, bones and fluid – and that Mr Montgomery was trying to dispose of her remains down the drain, the prosecutor said.
The prosecution said that Montgomery asked his wife to help him reduce Harmony’s body even further, but “it was too much” for her.
“So she went to the living room to be with her two sons so they wouldn’t walk in and see what their father was doing,” the prosecutor said.
At some point, Montgomery took a break and came out to the living room allegedly saying: “I can put her in pieces, I can work her up.”
Montgomery rented a U-Haul and went to an unknown location to dispose of what remained of Harmony.
“He told Kayla that he was not going to tell her where she was going to dump Harmony,” the prosecution said. “He was in control, he had all the pieces.”
Harmony’s remains have never been found.
At the time of Harmony’s killing, the family had been living in their car after being evicted from their home in Manchester.
According to an affidavit released in 2022, Kayla Montgomery said her husband was driving to a fast food restaurant when he turned around and repeatedly punched Harmony in the face and head because he was angry that she was having bathroom accidents in the car.
“I think I really hurt her this time. I think I did something,” he said, according to Kayla.
Harmony made a “moaning type noise” for approximately five minutes “and then stopped,” Kayla told investigators.
No one checked on Harmony or stopped to get her medical attention.
They remained in the parking lot for 20 minutes before driving off again. In a second interview, Ms Montgomery admitted she and Mr Montgomery used heroin and fentanyl during this period. It was only when their car, a Chrysler Sebring, broke down that she claimed the couple discovered “Harmony was not breathing” and had died.