The stepmother of Harmony Montgomery — the long-missing New Hampshire girl believed to have been murdered — was declared a fugitive after she skipped out on a court hearing Thursday.
An arrest warrant was issued for Kayla Montgomery, 32, after she did not show up for her scheduled court appearance in Manchester.
She was due to appear regarding allegations she lied to state officials about having 5-year-old Harmony in her care when she did not.
She was charged with with welfare fraud January for allegedly collecting $1,500 in food stamps in Harmony’s name between December 2019 and June 2021 — even though the girl wasn’t living with her during that time.
“Eventually, I expect she’s either going to turn herself in or be picked up on the warrant,” her defense attorney Paul Garrity told WMUR. “The court will then set bail, and hopefully that bail will be set that allows Kayla to remain free. If not, we’ll continue forward with the case.”
Little Harmony was last seen in 2019, but police did not learn that she was missing until January 2022, when the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth and Families alerted them that the child had vanished.
She was officially declared murdered last month. State Attorney General John Formella said little Harmony was killed in Manchester around the time of her disappearance in December 2019, when she was 5 years old
Her body has not been found.
Harmony’s father Adam Montgomery has been in jail since January on various charges, including one that he allegedly struck the girl in the face in July 2019. He’s pleaded not guilty.
The couple had previously told investigators that Harmony had gone to stay with her mother in Massachusetts around Thanksgiving 2019. However, Harmony’s mother, Crystal Renee Sorey, said she last saw the girl during a phone video conversation around Easter that year.
FBI agents looking for the girl in June seized a large refrigerator from the apartment where she once lived with her father and stepmother.
The state Attorney General’s Office said Kayla Montgomery was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped by police for an apparent drug transaction on On Aug. 11.
On Aug. 22, she was found inside a Queen City hotel by police who learned she and another person were selling drugs from a room there, according to court documents.
Days later on Aug. 24, she was a passenger in a car where drug paraphernalia was found during a search, officials said. She wasn’t arrested during those encounters, officials said.