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25 Investigates: The pivotal decision that sent Harmony Montgomery to live with her father

MANCHESTER, NH — 25 Investigates has been covering the Harmony Montgomery case in-depth since the very beginning, including the pivotal decision that placed Harmony in her father, Adam Montgomery’s custody.

Boston 25 News Anchor and Investigative Reporter Kerry Kavanaugh was the first to report on the lack of oversight when 5-year-old Harmony was sent to live with her father in Manchester, New Hampshire in 2019. Harmony was sent to live out of state without an ICPC, an Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children, between MA and NH child welfare agencies.

That would have enacted certain safeguards. Someone would have been checking if Harmony was enrolled in school and receiving proper medical care for her disabilities among other things.

Harmony was in and out of DCF foster homes in Massachusetts for four years until February 2019, when a judge awarded permanent custody to her father Adam, who has a long criminal history.

She was sent to New Hampshire in February 2019 and was last seen in December later that same year.

When Harmony was finally reported missing, two years later, the search began. The Massachusetts Office of Child Advocates then began its own examination of the decision to place Harmony in her father’s custody.

In May, The OCA released a scathing report which found the Massachusetts system prioritized parental rights over the safety and wellbeing of Harmony.

The report also found through their investigation that the two of them spent little time together. “The OCA estimates that Harmony spent approximately a total of 40 hours in supervised visits with her father from her birth to age four and a half.”

Even though there was no interstate compact in place, 25 Investigates uncovered police and DCYF were at Harmony’s Manchester home multiple times between February and December 2019, when she ultimately disappeared.

According to New Hampshire, they now believe Adam killed Harmony in early December but did not dispose of her body until sometime in March 2020, which was months that no one noticed her missing and nearly a year and a half until a search for Harmony began.

The OCA’s report had a list of several recommendations, like how often protective care cases go before the courts. But Maria Mossaides, Director, the Office of the Child Advocate, says one of her biggest proposals was to convene a working group to examine how parental rights are weighed compared to a child’s safety and well-being.

A bill established by the Harmony Montgomery commission died during the budget reconciliation process on Beacon Hill at the end of the last session.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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