Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Baby found alive after hours under pile of debris

Baby found alive after hours under pile of debris

Authorities say they were called about a man threatening people in the Lolo Hot Springs area of western Montana's Lolo National Forest.

Officials say when deputies arrived, they found the suspect, 32-year-old Francis Carlton Crowley, had left the area with a 5-month-old baby.

While the deputies were trying to track down the man, another 911 call came in saying he had returned to Lolo Hot Springs, where he was ultimately apprehended. Crowley allegedly told authorities that he had buried the baby "somewhere in the mountains".

The sheriff's office hastily put together a search crew of federal, state and local officials that combed the forest outside the hot springs for six hours before a deputy heard a baby's cry about 2.30am Sunday (local time).

Rescuers in Montana found a baby, alive and well, after being abandoned for nine hours in the cold woods.

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

A man who was supposed to be taking care of the infant, Francis Carlton Crowley, 32, was arrested for criminal endangerment, authorities said. He was expected to face additional charges, and it was not immediately clear what his relationship was with the child, a police statement said. As deputies tried to question him, the release says it appeared Crowley was under the influence of drugs and was not making sense to officers. The infant was only wearing a "wet and solid" onesie as he endured 46-degree temperatures for at least nine hours, according to police. "For the officers who were present for this event, its especially hard knowing what this small baby endured in the last 24 hours".

"He followed the sound and found the baby alive, face down, buried under a pile of sticks and debris", the department said in a statement. He was subsequently released after OR officials decided not to extradite him, Deputy Missoula County Attorney Jason Marks said.

Crowley has been charged with felony criminal endangerment and is being held on $50,000 bond, jail records show.

As of 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, the baby was in good condition at the hospital. "Sheriff McDermott would like to thank those who assisted in the search and those who called 911, helping first responders bring this baby to safety".

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