Kayla Montgomery

Kayla Montgomery sits with her attorney, Paul Garrity, at Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester last week.

A prosecutor involved in the case of missing Harmony Montgomery filed new charges Tuesday against the little girl’s stepmother.

Kayla Montgomery, 31, was charged with Class A felony theft by deception and two misdemeanor welfare fraud charges, according to court filings.

Last week, Manchester police arrested Kayla at a family shelter and charged her with welfare fraud for allegedly collecting food stamps for Harmony even though the girl was not living with Kayla.

The new charges will replace the original charge, according to Assistant Attorney General Jesse O’Neil. A bail hearing is scheduled to take place at 11 a.m. Thursday.

The theft charge alleges Montgomery received food stamps for Harmony between Nov. 30, 2019, and June 2, 2021, for an excess of $1,500, despite Harmony not being a member of the household.

During an investigation into Harmony’s whereabouts, Montgomery told police she hadn’t seen Harmony since the day after Thanksgiving in 2019. Montgomery acknowledged receiving the benefits after last seeing Harmony, according to an affidavit.

Montgomery requested Harmony be removed from the account on June 2, 2021.

“A comment in Kayla’s file from that date reads ‘(Kayla) said (HM) moved back with her mother and to remove her from the case’,” the affidavit reads. Harmony’s mother, Crystal Sorey, has denied taking Harmony.

Sorey said the last time she saw Harmony was around Easter 2019.

The welfare misdemeanor charges allege Kayla Montgomery told a case worker that she was homeless with four children when she only had three at the time and filing for further assistance, which included Harmony as a household member.

On Jan. 7, 2021, files indicate the benefits would be for two adults and four children, including Harmony. The court documents say Kayla was confused because Harmony went to her mother’s every other weekend.

Adam Montgomery, Harmony’s father, has had legal custody of Harmony since Feb. 22, 2019, after she was in foster care in Massachusetts. Adam and Kayla Montgomery are estranged but still married. They have three children together.

The search for Harmony, who was 5 when she went missing in October 2019, continues.

The case has gained national attention since Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg held a press conference on the case on New Year’s Eve.

A reward for information about her whereabouts has reached $100,000. The 24-hour tip line is 603-203-6060.

Kayla Montgomery’s lawyer, Paul Garrity, has asked to have his client’s $5,000 bail reduced and calls the charges unfounded. O’Neil opposes the request, according to an objection filed Monday.

“The defendant will remain charged with a Class A felony (albeit under a different statute), as well as an additional eight new criminal charges, the defendant’s motion should be denied and bail should remain as set,” O’Neil wrote.

A judge will decide on the bail request during the hearing Thursday.

Adam Montgomery has been charged with assault, accused of giving the little girl a black eye in 2019. He is being held in jail without bail.