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Harmony Montgomery’s mother asks court to declare little girl dead amid father’s murder trial

The mother of slain five-year-old Harmony Montgomery has asked a New Hampshire court to declare the little girl legally dead years after her father allegedly murdered her in a fit of rage.

Crystal Sorey filed the petition in late January, just days before Adam Montgomery’s second-degree murder trial kicked off in Manchester. Montgomery, 34, has conceded on two lesser charges of abuse of a corpse and falsifying information in the death of his daughter.

According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, Ms Sorey intends to file a wrongful death lawsuit for Harmony’s killing. A probate court has scheduled a hearing for March to hear arguments on the matter.

“Whenever there is a request to open an estate for someone presumed dead, they have to have a hearing,” Ms Sorey’s attorney Sheliah Kaufold told the Union Leader. “It’s a notice to the public to say if you don’t think she is dead, or you don’t think this person should be in charge of the estate, this is your opportunity to come forward and state your piece.”

Ms Sorey requested that the process be expedited, citing concerns about the statute of limitations of six years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. According to prosecutors and witnesses in Montgomery’s trial, he beat Harmony to death after she had a bathroom accident in his car on 19 December 2019.

At the time, Harmony, Montgomery, his estranged wife Kayla Montgomery and the couple’s two infant sons were living out of the car. The family had been evicted from their home around Thanksgiving 2019.

Attempts by Ms Sorey to locate her daughter were fruitless, before her pleas were finally heard by authorities and an investigation into Harmony’s disappearance was launched in December 2021. Montgomery was charged with murder a year later.

The state’s case has largely hinged on testimony by Kayla Montgomery, as well as DNA evidence of the horrific ways in which Montgomery worked to destroy Harmony’s remains before disposing of what was left of the little girl at an unknown location in March 2020.

The defence has sought to argue that Harmony actually died in the care of her stepmother and that Montgomery only went along with plans to conceal the body to “protect” his family.

Harmony’s remains have never been found.

Judge Amy Messer said last week that deliberation could be expected by the end of this week.