CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – Prosecutors have dropped a welfare fraud charge against the stepmother of a missing New Hampshire girl and replaced it with other charges including theft.
The attorney general’s office said Tuesday the changes are based on updated records from the state about Kayla Montgomery.
Harmony Montgomery has not been seen since 2019 when she was 5 years old.
She pleaded not guilty last week to obtaining food stamps during a time Harmony Montgomery wasn’t living with Kayla and the girl’s father, Adam Montgomery.
He has pleaded not guilty to counts including failing to have Harmony in his custody. Harmony vanished in 2019 at age 5 but was not reported missing until late last year.
Police first became aware Harmony might be missing when they received a call from the girl’s mother in November. She had been trying to locate the girl for months, police said.
Police said they had made contact with Adam Montgomery and other family members by the end of December. An affidavit said police told him Harmony “had not been physically observed in over two years and that we had concern for whether or not she was still alive.”
A candlelit vigil was held in a Manchester park last weekend where family and friends sought to remind the public that Harmony is still missing, NBC10 Boston reported.
The girl’s mother, Crystal Sorey, made her first public appearance since the search got underway, telling the station that she doesn’t feel like her daughter is gone.
“I just don’t feel that in my heart,” Sorey said. “Like, I don’t feel like I lost her. And a mother knows, a mother knows if your baby’s here or not. I know she’s here.”
Sorey lost legal custody of Harmony in 2018 and said she was blocked by her ex-husband from contacting her.