Deputies apprehended the man, who indicated that a baby was buried somewhere in the woods. Beginning at about 8:00 p.m., calls started pouring into 911 centers about a man in the Lolo Springs area acting strangely. When law enforcement arrived, they learned the suspect, identified as 32-year-old Francis Carlton Crowley, had left the scene and a 5-month-old child left in his care had not been seen for several hours.
A while later, Crowley turned up again at the hot springs, and police were able to take him into custody. 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. "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", said the report from the Missoula County Sheriff's Office. In total, the sheriff's office estimates authorities spent more than six hours searching for the baby early Sunday morning.
Crowley was taken to the Missoula County Detention Facility and booked on a count of criminal endangerment, with additional charges still pending. "He followed the sound and found the baby alive, face down", reads the post.
A search was launched that included members of the county search-and-rescue team, the U.S. Forest Service, the federal Bureau of Land Management, the Montana Highway Patrol and the Missoula County sheriff's office.
The baby was reportedly clothed in only a wet and soiled onesie.
"He suffered some minor scrapes and bruising but overall is in good health", sheriff's spokeswoman Brenda Bassett said in a statement Monday.
Bassett said in a press release that they "will not be providing names or confirming any identities in an effort to protect this baby's identity".
Crowley is now being held at Missoula County Detention Center in lieu of $50,000 bond, and is expected to face further charges.
'For the officers who were present for this event, its especially hard knowing 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. He's been charged with criminal endangerment, although local media indicate that more charges are coming.
The child had been in the care of Francis Carlton Crowley, 32, on Saturday, according to the release.
Prior to the Saturday incident, the Missoula County Attorneys' Office says Crowley was already wanted in the state of OR for criminal mischief and felony burglary, and he had fled OR for Montana.