Slipped Through the Cracks: The Cases of Harmony Montgomery and the Opelika Jane Doe

Harmony Montgomery was born June 7th 2014 to mother Crystal Sorrey and Father Adam Montgomery. The pair met when Crystal was just 20, and to hear her tell it, the relationship was volatile from the start. The two had bonded over a mutual love of partying and using drugs, and Crystal says Adam was angry and abusive towards her. But when Crystal became pregnant, she says she immediately felt that nurturing feeling and wanted to make changes in her life. She named her Harmony because it reminded her of music. Adam missed the birth because he was in jail, and the couple broke up shortly afterwards. This was not Adams first run in with the law. Though I’m not sure exactly what charge he was away for at the time of his daughter’s birth in 2014, he had a lengthy criminal record including armed robbery, and for shooting someone in the face during a drug deal. 

Though Crystal did well in her sobriety as a new mom for some time, ultimately a reprelapse led to her losing custody of Harmony in 2018. Crystal pushed and pushed for the courts to award temporary custody to a foster parent in Massachusetts, but the judge awarded custody to Adam who was living in Manchester New Hampshire. The judge’s decision has haunted Crystal ever since, and she’s continued making steps to investigate it to this day, though she seems to hit roadblock after roadblock. 

The arrangement only went smoothly for a few months, when Adam cut off all contact with Crystal. The last time she spoke to her daughter was on Easter of 2019 via facetime, and from then out Adam withheld Harmony from her mother. Crystal certainly didn’t just accept this though, and she says she called every agency she could think of to aid her including the New Hampshire Child Welfare agency, where she was allegedly told that she sounded like a scorned ex. Many people feel that Crystal wasn’t taken seriously because of her history with addiction and her custody loss as a result.

Crystal even attempted to take matters into her own hands, searching neighborhoods he might live and driving past schools where Harmony might be enrolled, just to try to get in touch with her daughter. When people would ask if Harmony was missing, she’d respond “Not exactly, but her father has her hidden from me to hurt me” 

But by November of 2020, Crystal could no longer come up with any ideas for what to do on her own, after every agency she could think of had rejected her cries for help. She called the Manchester police who finally listened to her, and began an official investigation into the disappearance of Harmony Montgomery on December 31st, 2021. When Manchester police finally tracked Adam down, he was homeless, living in his car with a new girlfriend. When they asked him about the whereabouts of his daughter Harmony, Adam told investigators that he’d given her back to her mother in November of 2019. 

Though they were unable to make any charges in the disappearance of Harmony, what their investigation did unearth was a history of abuse Adam had toward his own daughter. In 2019 Adam allegedly punched little Harmony in the face, and at this time they were able to get him off the streets and in custody by arresting him for that charge. They also arrested his estranged wife Kayla, with whom he has two other children. Allegedly Kayla has been fraudulently claiming Harmony on her food stamp benefits, despite the fact that she was not living in the home. Both of them have pled not guilty, but perhaps this is a good opportunity for investigators to really put the pressure on and see who’s story changes. 

Though authorities are being tight lipped about most of the details of the investigation, what I have had heard is that the condition of the home in Manchester was pretty deplorable up until the time of Harmony’s disappearance. It had been foreclosed on, the utilities had been shut off and the family used a generator all summer, and the family was officially evicted on November 27th, 2019. At the time, witnesses report seeing Harmony with them, and the last known sightings of Harmony were before December 10th, when the family was seen pan handling without Harmony. Because of this, investigators have narrowed down the date of her disappearance to sometime between November 28th 2019 and December 10th 2019. 

But what happened to Harmony? I hear that the property has been really thoroughly searched, including with cadaver dogs, so it is unlikely Harmony is there in any capacity. I think the most optimistic theory is that he got tired of caring for her and sent her to live with someone else, but if that someone were loving and caring it’s most likely they’d have come forward by now. 

Many people theorize that Adam caused intentional death or injury to Harmony, while others feel it was accidental due to neglect at his hands. Witnesses that have come forward have stated his history of focusing his neglect and abuse on her specifically, rather than his two children 

Many people though are holding out hope that Harmony was perhaps sold. Though that’s a horrific idea, and not something we’d “hope” for, it means there’s a chance she’s alive, and so her safe return is what Crystal and the world are praying for. 

A reward for information on Harmony’s whereabouts has reached $104,000. There is a dedicated tip line for the case at 603-203-6060. 

Opelika is a small town in Eastern Alabama near Auburn State University. On January 28th 2012, a man was in the yard of his mobile home off Hurst street when he found the remains of a young child. She was fully skeletonized, but was found near a long sleeve pink shirt with ruffles on it. 

Examination of the remains showed that she was between 4 and 7 years old. Her body showed signs of years of neglect and abuse so severe, that despite the lack of evidence on her remains, her death has been ruled a probable homicide. Investigators believe that her abuser was her murderer and that this person was also her parent or a regular caregiver. That abuse even left a scar over her right eye which was so severe, the medical examiner is certain she’d been blinded in that eye. That injury had happened within a year of her death, maybe as recently as weeks. 

This detail sticks out as one that is incredibly important, because it would have left a visible deformity that anyone who encountered the little girl surely would have noticed. And in fact, this did lead to a clue. In 2016 a Vacation Bible School program at a church just three miles away from where her body was found came forward with old photos of a little girl who looked almost identical to the forensic recreation sketch of the remains. Right down to the blind right eye. 

The VBS program was a drop in and drop out one, and so investigators have no identity for the girl seen in the photos. Those photos will be up on our website too for your consideration. I think there’s a strong belief there with investigators that they are in fact the same girl. 

who was opelika doe blog

Luckily though, our friends at Othram have taken on this case! For those of you who might be newer here, Othram is a DNA lab who uses advanced forensic genealogy to help close cases. You can hear a bit more about their work by listening to Episode 3, the story of mostly harmless. When I say our friends at Othram, they’re not sponsors or anything- I just love them and I feel forever grateful to them for their work on the Mostly Harmless case. 

Anyway, Othram has picked up the case of our Opelika Jane Doe and genetic testing is underway, so it’s possible within months we could see resolution to this case. It’s not guaranteed though, and it can take a lot of work besides just the result to finally get an answer. Let me let Othram explain it to you better than I can- Amelia will you read what they had to say for us? 

Recently, Opelika Police Department has teamed up with Othram to explore using advanced DNA testing to build a comprehensive genealogical profile for the unknown child. Othram is working to develop a DNA extract from the child’s remains that is suitable for further testing. Once complete, Othram will use Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a genealogical profile. Opelika Police Department has engaged Barbara Rae-Venter to use this genealogical profile to identify relatives and develop investigative leads that might point to Opelika Jane Doe’s identity. Anyone that has information that could aid in this investigation is encouraged to contact the Opelika Police Department at 334-705-5200. Please refer to case number 12000847.

There is a reward. 

What I can tell you has been completed is the isotope testing which tells us that Opelika Jane Doe is most likely from Alabama where her body was found and investigators say some withheld info led them to believe she also has ties to Orlando Florida. My call to action for you tonight is to SHARE SHARE SHARE her story, especially if you have any connection to those areas. THAT is how we found the loved ones of Mostly Harmless and restored him to his name, Vance Rodriguez. This WORKS. It works, please please. If you can spend 20 or however minutes listening to a podcast please take 2 seconds to share her poster with your networks. 

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