The father of missing girl Harmony Montgomery allegedly “bashed” the partially blind child and forced her to clean a toilet with her toothbrush, according to US court documents released after his arrest.
On Tuesday (local time), Adam Montgomery, 31, was arrested on a second-degree assault charge, as well as charges of interfering with custody and child endangerment.
Detectives have accused him of “purposely violating a duty of care, protection or support” by failing to know the whereabouts of his seven-year-old daughter.
Harmony, from New Hampshire, was last seen in 2019 at the age of five but was not reported missing until November 18 when her mum Crystal Sorey called the Manchester Police Department, courts documents published by Fox News reveal.
Police say the 31-year-old told them Harmony was in Montgomery’s custody and she had not seen the child since a FaceTime call around Easter 2019.
The mum said her daughter seemed “frightened”.
Ms Sorey told detectives she lost custody of Harmony in 2018 in part due to substance abuse issues, which she alleged Montgomery also struggled with.
Despite numerous attempts to contact the seven-year-old, including searching various schools and driving past homes associated with Montgomery, Ms Sorey was unsuccessful.
She said last year, her ex and his wife had cut off all communication with her.
‘I bashed her around this house’
At the end of last year, police were able to speak with numerous family members of Montgomery’s and learned Harmony has last been seen in October or November 2019.
Montgomery’s brother Michael Montgomery told officers he was concerned the dad-of-four was physically abusive to Harmony, according to court documents.
“Michael recalled that Adam was ‘super short’ with the child,” police said.
In an interview with detectives, Harmony’s uncle Kevin Montgomery said he saw Harmony with a black eye in July 2019.
He said Montgomery told him he hit her after he had seen his daughter holding her hand over her younger brother’s mouth to stop him from crying, according to the court documents.
“Adam told Kevin at the time, ‘I bashed her around this house’,” police wrote.
“Kevin recalled other forms of abusive discipline during that time frame that raised his concerns.
“Kevin recalled H.M. [Harmony] being spanked hard on the butt, H.M. being forced to stand in the corner for hours, and Adam ordering H.M. to scrub the toilet with her toothbrush,” the documents read.
The uncle said he notified New Hampshire’s Division for Children, Youth and Families.
Dad refused to answer questions, police say
Around the same time, police said they spoke with Montgomery’s wife Kayla Montgomery, who shares three young children with him.
Officers said Kayla told them she last saw Harmony in November or December 2019 when Montgomery told her he was returning the child to her mum.
A boyfriend who lived with Harmony’s mum in 2019 said he’s never met the child in person.
Kayla said she has seen the seven-year-old with a black eye but Montgomery told her it was from one of the other children hitting her, court documents said.
On New Year’s Eve, police found Montgomery and his new girlfriend sleeping together in a car.
The dad said initially that Harmony was fine and he had seen her recently, but then later said he hadn’t seen her since her mum picked her up in Manchester around Thanksgiving 2019.
Police told Montgomery they were concerned his daughter “had not been physically observed in over two years and that we had concern for whether or not she was still alive,” the affidavit said.
“Adam did not exhibit much emotion or reaction to this,” adding he believed she was with her mum. He eventually stopped answering questions.
“Adam said words to the effect of ‘not talking to you’, ‘I have nothing to say’ and ‘if I’m not under arrest, I’m leaving’,” police wrote in the court documents.
Montgomery has had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf by his lawyer. He has been jailed without bail.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.