Five years after Harmony Montgomery vanished without a trace, the New Hampshire 5-year-old’s father is on trial for allegedly beating the child to death—and then disposing of her body.
The trial was off to a somewhat chaotic start on Wednesday, with Adam Montgomery failing to show up to court, where he faces several charges, including second-degree murder, in connection with Harmony’s December 2019 death.
While opening statements were set to begin Wednesday, WCVB reported that Montgomery agreed at the last minute to cop to two charges: falsifying evidence and abuse of a corpse.
Jurors on Wednesday will be transported to various locations relevant to the trial and opening statements are now expected to begin on Thursday. Prosecutors allege that Montgomery punched his daughter with a closed fist after she had a bathroom accident in the car where her family was living.
After the fatal beating, which occurred as the family was on their way to Burger King, Montgomery allegedly told his now-estranged wife Kayla, “I think I really hurt her this time,” a 2023 police affidavit states. Over the next three months, prosecutors allege that Montmongery moved his daughter’s body multiple times—including to a restaurant fridge and the ceiling vent of a family homeless shelter—before he disposed of it.
It took two years for authorities to learn that Harmony was missing when the girl’s biological mother reported that she hadn’t seen her daughter in over six months. The December 2021 report spurred a massive investigation that garnered national headlines and revealed a pattern of alleged abuse. Harmony’s body has never been found.
Openings in Montgomery’s trial are expected to start on Wednesday afternoon.
Montgomery has maintained his innocence, stating at his August sentencing in a separate firearms case that he did not kill his daughter. “And I look forward to my upcoming trial to refuse those offensive claims,” he said before he was sentenced to at least 15 years in prison.
During Montgomery’s firearms trial, Kayla testified that she and her children were living in “chaos” in the weeks leading up to Harmony’s murder. (Kayla was sentenced last year to 18 months in prison for lying about her whereabouts the day Harmony went missing.)
Prosecutors allege that Montgomery had previously abused Harmony, including giving her a black eye in July 2019, forcing her to scrub the toilet with her toothbrush, and making her stand in a corner for hours. The alleged 2019 attack occurred just months after he was granted custody by child-protective services.
“I bashed her around the house,” Montgomery allegedly told his uncle, according to a 2021 arrest affidavit. Montgomery allegedly said the attack was punishment after Harmony “was [left] in charge of watching her infant brother while [he] was in the bathroom” and the baby began to cry.
The 2023 affidavit also details a police interview with Kayla, in which she described Harmony’s murder in the car. She said that moments after Montomgery hit Harmony, the 5-year-old “began making a moaning type noise that went on for roughly five minutes and then stopped.”
Kayla told authorities that when the family realized Harmony “was not breathing,” Montgomery did not stop the car or get medical attention. Instead, Kayla said, he put Harmony’s body into a black-and-red Under Armour duffle bag he had in the trunk, the affidavit states. Kayla told police that that weekend the family stayed in her friend’s Audi in an apartment parking lot, where Harmony’s body was allegedly kept in the truck and outside in the snow “to stop the decomposition of the body from happening.”
The affidavit states that Montgomery moved Harmony’s body to several locations over the next several months, including a plastic bin inside their apartment fridge, until March 2020. Prosecutors say that Montgomery had a friend rent a U-Haul, which he then allegedly used to move his daughter’s remains in the middle of the night. MassDOT records show the U-Haul captured on video crossing the Tobin Bridge in Boston at around 4:44 a.m. and returning about an hour later.
About 21 months later, Harmony’s mother, Crystal Sorey, reported that her daughter “was missing and that she hadn’t seen [her] in over six months” to the Manchester Police Department. Authorities found Montgomery and Kayla on December 31, 2021, at which point the father allegedly made several “contradictory statements” about the whereabouts of his daughter before refusing to answer questions if he was not “under arrest.”