Baby found buried in debris near Lolo Hot Springs is recovering

Francis Carlton Crowley

Francis Carlton Crowley

The Missoula County Sheriff's Office says the baby is in good condition at a hospital and calls it a "miracle" that the child survived the weekend ordeal.

The sheriff's office said authorities were called to the Lolo Hot Springs area of Montana's Lolo National Forest at about 8 p.m. Saturday night (11 p.m. ET) on a report of a man threatening people and acting unusual.

As deputies were headed to the scene, additional calls came in saying the man was threatening people and saying he had a gun, the release said, and was reaching in his pockets.

When police showed up, the suspect wasn't there, according toKPAX-TV (Missoula), but callers informed police that a five-month-old baby who had been left in his care hadn't been seen in several hours.

Crowley made statements indicating the baby was possibly buried somewhere in the mountains, which prompted the Sheriff's Office to summon help in locating the baby.

Alongside a search and rescue team and officers with the United States Forest Service, deputies with the Missoula County Sheriff's Office began searching on foot Saturday evening.

The reference is to a deputy who heard a faint cry in the woods and discovered a baby buried under sticks and debris, a happy end to a frantic six-hour search at night with temperatures in the 40s.

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Francis Crowley, 32, was being held on $50,000 bail on a charge of criminal endangerment. The sheriff's office said Crowley appeared to be "under the influence of drugs and was not making sense to officers".

More charges are forthcoming for Crowley, police said.

The baby was found under a pile of sticks and debris wearing wet and soiled clothes, but suffered only minor injuries.

There remain unanswered questions about this case, such as who left the baby in Crowley's care and if they have given any statement to the police. For those of us with children, it hits especially hard to know what this small baby endured in the last 24 hours.

"For all of us at the sheriff's office, this is what we call a miracle", the statement reads.

Deputy Missoula County Attorney Jason Marks said Crowley was released when OR officials decided not to extradite him.

The infant, who was not identified, had been left in the 46-degree weather for at least nine hours, according to the sheriff's office.

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