A MISSING girl’s stepmom has been accused of fraudulently claiming food stamp benefits for the seven-year-old.
Kayla Montgomery, 31, is facing a felony welfare fraud charge, while little Harmony, 7, remains missing.
Kayla Montgomery is set to be arraigned in court on Thursday[/caption]
She has been accused of obtaining more than $1,500 in food stamp benefits by failing to remove Harmony from the family’s family assistance account.
Investigators said that Kayla collected the cash between December 2019 and June 2021.
Harmony was no longer living with Kayla and Adam Montgomery – the little girl’s father – at the time.
Kayla is scheduled to be arraigned later today.
On Wednesday, Adam, 31, was charged with assaulting his seven-year-old daughter before her mysterious disappearance.
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Adam has been charged with felony second-degree assault stemming from alleged 2019 conduct against Harmony.
The 31-year-old is also facing a misdemeanor charge of interference with custody and two misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
According to court records released Wednesday, Manchester police got a call on November 18, 2021, from Harmony’s biological mother, Crystal Sorey, saying her daughter was missing and that Adam had custody of her.
Police reached out to the Division for Children Youth & Families, which started a search for Adam.
Detectives began searching for the 31-year-old on December 27 after DCYF told them they were unable to local the father.
Investigators later learned that Harmony “had not been physically seen since October/November 2019,” per the affidavit filed Wednesday in Hillsborough County Superior Court.
In their search for Adam, police spoke with his brother Michael, who told them the 31-year-old was physically abusive to Harmony and gave her a black eye.
A detective then talked to Adam’s uncle Kevin and asked him about Harmony’s eye injury.
According to court documents, Kevin said that Adam told him in July 2019 that he [Adam] “bashed her [Harmony] around the house.”
Adam was allegedly angry at Harmony, who was five years old at the time, because she was supposed to be watching her infant brother, but he started crying, which enraged the father.
The uncle also said Adam spanked his daughter, forced her to stand in the corner for hours and ordered her to scrub a toilet with her toothbrush.
Despite the arrest, the search for Harmony continues.
HARMONY LAST SEEN IN 2019
But her disappearance wasn’t reported until two years later – the last week of December 2021.
Harmony is described as being 4 feet tall and weighing around 50 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes and wears glasses, and is blind in her right eye.
During a late Monday afternoon press conference, Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg said detectives “are running on fumes but working around the clock” to find Harmony.
“I’m in rescue mode. We are not in a recovery operation,” Aldenberg said.
“We’re operating under the assumption she’s alive and well, and that’s how we’ll operate until someone convinces me otherwise.”
During the press conference, the chief announced more than $10,000 in rewards for information and said this tips hotline can be called or texted and will be manned 24/7: 603-203-6060.
‘THAT’S MY HARMONY’
Harmony used to take care of her little brother, Jamison, as they bounced around the foster care system but were ultimately separated in 2019.
The seven-year-old was purportedly reunited with her biological father in February 2019, and Jamison was adopted by Blaine and Jonathon Miller in November 2019.
Even at a young age, Jamison is very aware and keeps asking where’s Harmony, Blaine told The Sun.
The mysterious case of his sister captured national headlines and impacted the Miller’s Washington DC home, messing with young Jamison’s psyche.
“We try to shield him from the news, but he saw her picture on a flyer and said, ‘That’s my Harmony. We brought him to a park, and he was looking for her,” Jonathon said.
The doting dads said they’re doing everything they can to find Harmony for Jamison’s sake.
Not having his big sister in his life has impacted Jamison’s performance in school, where he’s been acting out, his dads told The US Sun.
“Jamison is going through a lot of trauma. It hasn’t been an easy road,” Jonathon said.
“We’re just trying to figure out where she is. Someone does know something. That person needs to come forward,” Blaine said.
“We don’t want to think of anything else,” Jonathan said when asked if they think she’s still alive.