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Stepmother of missing girl Harmony Montgomery wanted after missing court appearance

Kayla Montgomery, who is the wife of Harmony's father Adam Montgomery, was arrested in January and charged with welfare fraud.
Kayla Montgomery, center, stepmother of missing girl Harmony Montgomery, is escorted into Hillsborough County Superior Court North, in Manchester, N.H., on Jan. 24, 2022.
Kayla Montgomery, center, stepmother of missing girl Harmony Montgomery, is escorted into Hillsborough County Superior Court North, in Manchester, N.H., on Jan. 24, 2022.Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe via AP

An arrest warrant has been issued for the stepmother of Harmony Montgomery, the New Hampshire girl last seen in 2019 who investigators believe was murdered, after she failed to appear in court Thursday. 

Kayla Montgomery, 32, was due to appear in Hillsborough Superior Court Northern District in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday at 10 a.m. for a dispositional conference.

The meeting was to discuss charges, including an allegation that Montgomery lied to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services when she received welfare on Harmony’s behalf when the child wasn’t actually in Montgomery's care, according to the case docket.

A spokesperson with the New Hampshire Judicial Branch confirmed that Montgomery failed to appear in court, and the State requested an arrest warrant and a judge granted it. 

Her failure to appear in court comes one week after the state filed a motion asking for proof of her compliance with conditions of her release, including not consuming excessive alcohol or using drugs.

Prosecutors said in the motion that Montgomery “had three interactions" with the Manchester police in August involving drugs that raised concerns about her compliance.

NBC News has reached out to her attorney for comment.

The case of the Harmony Montgomery has gripped New England for the past year. 

Officials previously said Harmony likely disappeared sometime between November 28 and December 10, 2019, but police only learned about her case in December 2021. 

In an update last month, New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella said investigators believe Harmony was murdered in Manchester in December 2019, when she would have been 5 years old.

Her case has turned into a homicide investigation and the search for her remains is ongoing, Formella said.

Adam Montgomery, Harmony's father, and his wife Kayla, have both been both arrested and charged, but not in direct connection with the girl’s disappearance. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Kayla Montgomery was arrested in January by Manchester police on a charge of welfare fraud, accused of obtaining $1,500 in food stamp benefits for Harmony, though she wasn’t living with her and Adam at the time, from December 2019 to June 2021.

Adam was charged with assault after he was alleged to have told an uncle that he had given Harmony a black eye in June 2019, according to court documents.

Harmony Montgomery.
Harmony Montgomery.Manchester Police Dept.

Harmony was living with her father, Adam Montgomery, and his wife Kayla before she disappeared.

The girl was born in Massachusetts and spent much of her life in the custody of the state’s Department of Children and Families, a state Office of the Child Advocate report said. Her mother, Crystal Sorey, and father had substance abuse issues, the agency said. 

A court awarded her father custody of her in February 2019. 

The New Hampshire General Attorney’s Office said that in November 2019, Adam, Kayla, their two common children together and Harmony were evicted from the address 77 Gilford Street in Manchester. Witnesses reported seeing Harmony with the couple in the following days. But from December 6 to 10 of 2019, Adam and Kayla were seen only with their two children, without Harmony.

According to court documents, Kayla Montgomery told investigators that Adam Montgomery informed her in late 2019 that Harmony was going to live with her mother.

Adam Montgomery told police that Sorey picked the girl up in Manchester, according to a police affidavit filed in his case.

Harmony’s mother, Crystal Sorey, told police in November 2021 she last saw her daughter on a video call in April 2019 and Adam Montgomery had been blocking her attempts at communication, according to a police affidavit.