Massachusetts Senate mulls change to child welfare law after girl vanishes when placed in shady dad’s custody
Massachusetts lawmakers heard emotional testimony this week from a couple who tried unsuccessfully to adopt a 5-year-old girl who was placed in the care of her drug abusing, ex-convict father, who is now charged with her murder.
“Today was difficult, but not nearly as difficult as the hell that Harmony endured every single day after Massachusetts handed her over to a murderer,” Johnathon Bobbitt-Miller told Fox News Digital after the hearing.
Bobbitt-Miller and Blair Miller had previously adopted Jamison, the half-brother of Harmony Montgomery, and wanted to bring her into their household to reunite the siblings.
However, after her father Adam Montgomery got out of prison for a drug robbery and shooting, a Massachusetts family court judge agreed to place the girl in his care. Harmony had never met her father before. He was in prison for shooting a man in the face when she was born.
Montgomery soon collected welfare payments on behalf of the child, and his estranged wife was accused of continuing to receive them for months after Harmony was last seen alive. Kayla Montgomery is now cooperating with investigators in the murder case against her husband.
“Harmony’s fate was sealed the minute she became a number and/or a case load,” Bobbitt-Miller said. “She’s more than that to us, and we won’t stop fighting until change happens.”
A group of lawmakers is seeking to establish a new “Harmony commission” designed to “study and make recommendations related to the welfare and best interests of children in care and protection cases.”
A watchdog investigation last year found serious “miscalculations” in the family court system’s decision to hand Harmony over to her father before her disappearance and presumed murder. The Millers are asking supporters to reach out to their state representatives and senators and urge them to vote in favor of H.4088 and S.118.
“We now live in Arlington, Virginia, and came back to Massachusetts to officially adopt Jamison at National Adoption Day in November of 2019,” Blair Miller told the Massachusetts Senate’s Joint Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Committee at an hours-long hearing Tuesday.
“We now know that just days later, while we were celebrating Jamison’s birthday back in Virginia, Harmony was being brutally beaten. She was being attacked and eventually killed. The same day.”
It took years, however, before anyone even knew something was wrong. Adam Montgomery is now accused of beating her to death while abusing drugs and living out of a car, then hiding her body. He has pleaded not guilty.
The unwitting Millers spent years trying to reach him and reunite her with her brother.
Her biological mother, who had forfeited custody years earlier due to her own struggles with drug abuse, learned in 2021 from school officials that Harmony had never been enrolled.
Anyone with information about Harmony Montgomery is asked to call a 24-hour tip line at 603-203-6060.
Harmony’s remains have not been found. However, investigators say they’ve found her DNA in several locations they believe her father concealed her body before he allegedly rented a U-Haul van and dumped her remains in a marsh outside Boston.