MANCHESTER, N.H. — Kayla Montgomery — the stepmother of missing 7-year-old Harmony Montgomery — walked out of a New Hampshire jail today following a judge’s decision to allow her bond in cases connected to the disappearance of the little girl.
The order allowing bond in the cases was issued Friday and follows a bail hearing on Thursday.
Kayla Montgomery was released from jail around 7:30 p.m., Friday.
In her ruling, Judge Amy Messer says Kayla should be released given her limited criminal history and close ties to New Hampshire.
“The defendant has a limited criminal history and has no history of failing to appear for any court appearance,” said Judge Messer in her order. “She has also previously complied with Court-ordered conditions of a deferred sentence. The defendant was aware of the police investigation regarding H.M. for approximately ten days prior to her arrest on the initial welfare fraud charge and made no attempt to flee. Her contacts in the State are significant. The defendant is a nearly lifelong resident of New Hampshire and her children and extended family members are here. The defendant has also been participating in medically assisted treatment for substance use disorder while at the jail and intends to continue in treatment if released.”
Kayla Montgomery is charged with one count of theft by deception (felony) and two counts of welfare fraud (misdemeanor) and two counts of receiving stolen property (felony).
Her bail was previously set at $5,000 cash.
“The defendant is indigent and has been unable to post the monetary bail as set,” said the judge. “Therefore, she has remained incarcerated since her arrest in early January.”
“The State argues that the defendant’s bail should continue in the amount of $5000 cash or corporate surety with conditions, arguing that the nature of the allegations support a finding that the defendant presents a risk of flight.” wrote the judge. “The bail statute states, however, that “[t]he court shall not impose a financial condition that will result in the pretrial detention of a person solely as a result of that financial condition unless the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that the nature of the allegations presents a substantial risk that the person will not appear and that no reasonable alternative will assure the person’s appearance.” RSA 597:2, III (b)(4). The State has not met its burden here.”
The 7-year-old New Hampshire girl has been missing since 2019.
The judge’s order on Friday also addressed a jailhouse call made by Kayla to Adam Montgomery, Harmony’s father, who is also behind bars on charges connected to Harmony’s disappearance.
“The State argues that a recent recorded phone call from the jail with Adam Montgomery’s father shows that the defendant violated the Court’s no contact order with Adam Montgomery,” wrote the judge. “The Court does not, however, find that the statements, when viewed in the context of the entire conversation, are sufficient to overcome the State’s burden to show that there are no conditions that the Court can set to reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance, or that the defendant will not abide by Court orders. The Court does not minimize the prohibited conduct engaged in by the defendant but finds it is not sufficient grounds to deny her bail request altogether. The defendant is cautioned, however, that any further contact with Adam Montgomery, direct or indirect, or through a third party, may be cause for immediate revocation of her bail.”
“Based on the foregoing considerations, the defendant’s bail shall be set at $5000 unsecured appearance bond on each of the two dockets,”said the judge.
“The Court will also impose significant additional conditions. The defendant shall be required to check in daily in person at the Manchester Police Department. She shall continue to participate in substance use disorder treatment. She shall not travel outside the State of New Hampshire and shall sign a waiver of extradition before her NHJB-3054-Se (08/06/2019) release. She shall have no contact, direct or indirect, or through a third party, with Adam Montgomery.” wrote Judge Messer.
Harmony Montgomery was placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Families in in Massachusetts in 2014, when she was two months old.
She remained in the custody of DCF until February 2019, when Harmony’s father, Adam Montgomery, was awarded custody by the Juvenile Court of Massachusetts.
On January 3, 2022, Mr. Montgomery was arrested and charged in New Hampshire with second-degree assault, interference with custody, and endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the disappearance of Harmony.
On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate issued a damning report on the the state’s handling of the Harmony case.
You can watch the full video of Kayla Montgomery’s release from jail on bond, below:
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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