Harmony Montgomery Declared Legally Dead Weeks After Her Dad Was Found Guilty of Killing Her

While Harmony’s remains have never been found, Adam Montgomery was found guilty of beating his 5-year-old daughter to death in December 2019

<p>Manchester NH Police</p> Harmony Montgomery

Manchester NH Police

Harmony Montgomery

Just weeks after the father of Harmony Montgomery was convicted of killing her, a New Hampshire judge declared the 5-year-old girl legally dead.

Judge Beth Kissinger made the ruling at the request of Harmony’s biological mother, Crystal Sorey, who planned to file a wrongful death lawsuit, according to court documents cited by CBS News, NBC Boston and WCVB-TV.

On Feb. 22, Harmony’s father, Adam Montgomery, was found guilty of five charges, including second-degree murder, second-degree assault, witness tampering, falsifying evidence and abuse of corpse, The Boston Globe, NBC Boston and WMUR-TV reported.

While Harmony’s remains have never been found, prosecutors accused Adam of beating his 5-year-old daughter to death in December 2019 after she became incontinent in their car.

Related: Harmony Montgomery’s Father Found Guilty of Murdering 5-Year-Old

At the time, Harmony was living with her father, Adam, after Sorey, her mother, lost custody of her because of a substance abuse problem, according to court records reviewed by PEOPLE. But in court this week, the judge granted Sorey’s request to become list her as the administrator of Harmony’s estate, so long as she meets several requirements, WCVB-TV reports.

According to NBC Boston, Sorey’s attorney argued that Harmony should be declared dead citing Adam’s conviction and his previous admission to abusing her corpse.

Sorey, who said the last time she saw her daughter was during a FaceTime call on Easter 2019, reported Harmony missing in November of 2021.

In the months after the girl’s death, authorities said Adam toted Harmony’s body — in a red Under Armour duffel bag, tied up in trash bags — all over Manchester, N.H.

Related: Affidavit Details Last Moments of 5-Year-Old Harmony Montgomery's Life: 'I Think I Really Hurt Her'

According to investigators, he placed Harmony's body in a cooler and stowed her over a vent in a shelter he shared with his wife and two sons. Then, authorities said, he placed Harmony's body into a closet when neighbors complained of the smell, and then snuck her remains into his workplace freezer.

<p>Kathy McCormack/AP/Shutterstock</p> Adam Montgomery

Kathy McCormack/AP/Shutterstock

Adam Montgomery

Finally, in the early morning hours of March 2020, authorities said he carted her away in a U-Haul to dump her remains at an undisclosed location.

However, Adam was not the only person who was convicted on charges related to Harmony’s murder case. Kayla Montgomery, Adam’s wife at the time, pleaded guilty to charges that she lied to law enforcement to hinder their murder investigation, according to the Associated Press. She is serving an 18-month prison sentence, per the outlet.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

With the judge’s ruling, Sorey now has the opportunity to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

"I'm Harmony's voice, and I'm her warrior basically, so everything I do is for her," Sorey said, per WCVB-TV. "I can't let people forget. I can't only let those two people be held accountable because it's not fair, it's not true."

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.