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Mother of murdered Harmony Montgomery wants her declared dead despite her body not being found

Harmony Montgomery’s mother has requested that her five-year-old daughter, who was killed in 2019, be declared legally dead even though her body has never been found.

Crystal Sorey made the request to a New Hampshire probate judge on Monday, more than two weeks after Harmony’s father, Adam Montgomery, was convicted of fatally beating her to death.

“I'm Harmony's voice, I’m her warrior, basically,” Ms Sorey told WMUR-TV following the hearing. “Everything I do is for her.”

Ms Sorey said there are other people and institutions who failed her daughter and that they also must be held accountable for their role in her death.

“And I can’t let only those two people be held accountable, because it’s not fair. It’s not true,” she said, talking about Adam Montgomery and Harmony’s stepmother, Kayla Montgomery, both convicted in her murder.

The request made on Monday is part of a planned wrongful death lawsuit Ms Sorey has filed against the state regarding her daughter.

Her attorney told the judge on Monday that Adam Montgomery’s second-degree murder conviction, his admission of guilt to lesser charges that he moved Harmony’s body around for months afterward, and falsified physical evidence, was enough for a legal death declaration, The Associated Press reported.

Crystal Sorey has requested that her daughter, Harmony Montgomery, be declared legally dead (David Lane/Union Leader via AP, Pool)
Crystal Sorey has requested that her daughter, Harmony Montgomery, be declared legally dead (David Lane/Union Leader via AP, Pool)

With the legal death declaration, Ms Sorey would be appointed as administrator of her daughter’s estate.

Judge Beth Kissinger did not rule immediately, however, and instead asked for court paperwork, including the jury’s verdict and a probate surety bond from Ms Sorey, which would guarantee that she would fulfill her duties under the law as administrator.

Adam Montgomery refused to attend Monday’s hearing via a Webex connection from the men’s state prison in Concord. He also declined to show up at his own two-week trial last month.

“He didn’t show,” Ms Sorey said. “I’m not surprised, but we are hoping to have him there for the sentencing, so we can face him. It’s only right. He didn’t show up to anything.”

Though little Harmony was last seen in New Hampshire in the fall of 2019, she was not reported missing for two years.

At the time, she was living with her father and her stepmother after Ms Sorey lost custody in 2018. The child was finally reported missing in 2021.

In early 2022, authorities searched Adam Montgomery’s home in Manchester and charged him with assault, interference with custody and child endangerment.

Meanwhile, his estranged wife, Kayla Montgomery, was charged with perjury for lying to a grand jury investigating her stepdaughter’s disappearance.

Harmony Montgomery was last seen in October 2019 at a home in Manchester, New Hampshire (Manchester Police Department)
Harmony Montgomery was last seen in October 2019 at a home in Manchester, New Hampshire (Manchester Police Department)

In August 2022, Attorney General John Formella announced that investigators believed Harmony was dead and that the case was being treated as a homicide.

Adam Montgomery was arrested after Kayla Montgomery came forward, telling authorities he killed Harmony by repeatedly punching her in the head because he was angry that she’d had a bathroom accident in the car.

Afterwards, he said, “I think I really hurt her this time. I think I did something.”

During her hearing before the New Hampshire Adult Parole Board, she expressed remorse over not coming forward sooner, according to The Associated Press.

“I didn’t tell the truth about where I was during that time,” Kayla Montgomery said. “And not being able to cooperate with the detectives, I got all caught up in the situation and if I just was honest from the beginning, they could have done their job sooner.”

For about five minutes, Harmony made a “moaning type noise,” and “then stopped”. The family continued driving, not stopping to check on the child or seek medical attention. They later realised she had died.

Kayla Montgomery was granted early release more than a year after she was sent to prison for lying about where she was on the day her husband killed his five-year-old daughter Harmony (David Lane/Union Leader via AP, Pool)
Kayla Montgomery was granted early release more than a year after she was sent to prison for lying about where she was on the day her husband killed his five-year-old daughter Harmony (David Lane/Union Leader via AP, Pool)

Harmony’s body, which Montgomery hid for months before dumping, has never been found.

In 2022, Ms Montgomery pleaded guilty to perjury charges for lying under oath about what happened to Harmony when the investigation began.

She was sentenced to 18 months in prison and agreed to testify in the trial against her husband as part of the deal.

Last week, she was granted early release, which will be in May, after which she will remain under supervision and be required to participate in substance abuse treatment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.