Mother Wants Death Declaration To Start Harmony Montgomery Lawsuits

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Dave Lane/Union Leader pool photo

Crystal Sorey, the mother of Harmony Montgomery, speaks with reporters following her probate case hearing at Nashua Circuit Court on March 11, 2024. The mother of Harmony, the little girl who was brutally murdered by her father, Adam Montgomery, was in court to declare her daughter deceased in an attempt to file wrongful death lawsuits.


NASHUA – Harmony Montgomery is dead. Her father killed her. Her body is still missing.

And now, in order for her mother to begin filing lawsuits against the institutions that should have saved the five-year-old Manchester girl, mother Crystal Sorey needs a court declaration confirming the death.

Sorey was in the Nashua 9th Circuit Probate Court Monday asking Judge Beth Kissinger to declare Harmony dead and appoint her as the administrator of her daughter’s estate. Sorey’s lawyer, Shelia Kaufold, told the judge wrongful death lawsuits are coming in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Kaufold presented Kissinger with the jury verdict finding Harmony’s father Adam Montgomery guilty of second-degree murder as well as falsifying physical evidence and abuse of a corpse. Kaufold noted that Adam Montgomery admitted to the grisly abuse of his daughter as part of his coverup of her death.

Adam Montgomery was himself missing from the hearing on Monday. While a camera and monitor were set up in the New Hampshire State Prison for Adam Montgomery to be able to participate in the hearing, he declined to attend. Adam Montgomery also refused to attend any day of his trial.

Sorey, who lost custody of her daughter in 2014 due to addiction, is likely to bring lawsuits against the New Hampshire Division for Children Youth and Families as well as its Massachusetts counterpart. 

Harmony was in and out of foster care starting in 2014, when she was an infant. Adam Montgomery was in prison when the child was born.

In February of 2019, she was placed in her father’s custody despite the fact staff with the Massachusetts Department of Families failed to do any kind of assessment of his capabilities as a parent, according to a Massachusetts Office of Child Advocate report released in 2022. By December of 2019, Harmony would be dead.

“Harmony’s father, Adam Montgomery, was in prison when DCF’s involvement with Harmony began. Although he was non-responsive for long periods of time, during the times when he appeared to be in communication with the DCF case management team, they were not able to engage him, except to facilitate his supervised visits with Harmony.

“No assessment was ever completed on Mr. Montgomery, and he was not held accountable for starting and completing the tasks on his action plan. The DCF case management team had no understanding of his family or personal history with which to develop an action plan and from which they could assess his capacity to parent Harmony,” the report found.

In New Hampshire, an investigator with the Division for Children, Youth and Families responded to a July 2019 report that Harmony had been abused. According to testimony at Adam Montgomery’s trial, the DCYF investigator closed the case as “unfounded” despite seeing evidence of physical abuse on the girl’s face.

Sorey is being represented in her yet to be filed lawsuits by Bedford attorney Rus Rilee. Rilee is one of the lead attorneys representing more than 1,000 alleged victims of abuse at the Sununu Youth Services Center, formerly called YDC. He’s also responsible for the largest settlement award ever paid out by New Hampshire’s DCYF.

In 2018, DCYF agreed to pay $6.75 million to Rilee’s clients, the adopted parents of two children who had been horrifically sexually abused by their birth parents. At the time of the abuse, in 2012 and 2013, DCYF was allowing the birth parents unsupervised visits with the children even after the father was investigated for sexual assault of another child. 

According to court records, the DCYF case worker told police that she wanted to give the biological parents “the opportunity to fail.” The parents would confess to the abuse and be convicted and imprisoned in 2013.

Kissinger has yet to issue an order on Harmony’s death. As part of the requirements, Sorey will need to obtain a $10,000 bond in order to become the estate administrator. 

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