The stepmother of a missing 7-year-old New Hampshire girl has been charged with welfare fraud as the search for Harmony Montgomery continues.
Kayla Montgomery, 31, of Manchester, New Hampshire, was arrested Wednesday. Officials allege that between December 2019 and June 2021, Kayla Montgomery obtained more than $1,500 in food stamp benefits by failing to remove Harmony Montgomery from Kayla Montgomery’s family account.
She allegedly continued to collect food stamp benefits for Harmony, despite the fact that Harmony was no longer living with Kayla Montgomery and her husband, Adam Montgomery.
In court Thursday, prosecutors asked that bail be set at $5,000, saying Kayla Montgomery is a flight risk. Defense attorneys asked for personal recognizance bail, but the judge sided with the prosecution and set bail at $5,000.
Rewards totaling more than $60,000 are being offered for information leading to 7-year-old Harmony Montgomery, who was last seen at a Manchester home in October 2019, when she was 5.
Adam Montgomery, 31, was arrested Tuesday on charges including second-degree assault connected to an incident in 2019 involving the missing girl, interference with custody and endangering the welfare of a child.
He waived his arraignment Wednesday in the Hillsborough County Superior Court North. He had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf by his lawyer and has been jailed.
According to an affidavit, Adam Montgomery is suspected of hitting his daughter in the face and claimed that he brought her to live with her mother, who lived in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg said Harmony was in the child welfare system in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It was New Hampshire's Division of Children, Youth and Families that notified police last week that Harmony was missing and last seen two years ago, the chief said.
A source told sister station WMUR that Harmony had been reunited with her father after spending time in foster care in Massachusetts.
Manchester police have created a dedicated tip line for the search for Harmony. Anyone with information is asked to call or text 603-203-6060.