Five-month-old baby found buried alive in Montana wilderness after 6-hour search

A 5-month-old baby was in good condition at a Missoula County, Mont. hospital Sunday morning after being rescued by police who responded to calls of a man who was “acting strange.”

Officers answered to numerous 911 calls placed by local residents at 8 p.m. Saturday night who were disturbed by 32-year-old Francis Carlton Crowley – who was threatening people with a gun he claimed to have in his possession – and quickly learned that an infant in his care was missing, according to a statement from the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office.

Nearly six-and-a-half hours later, an officer heard “the faint cry of a baby,” and found the child face down on the ground, buried under a pile of forest debris. The infant was brought to a nearby hospital and in good condition, the sheriff’s office said.

“For all of us at the sheriff’s office, this is what we call a miracle,” the statement reads. “For the officers who were present for this event, it’s especially hard knowing what this small baby endured in the last 24 hours.”

Crowley ran before cops arrived to the Lolo Hot Springs area but was later arrested thanks to further calls from locals. Police then questioned Crowley who said in an allegedly inebriated state the baby was “somewhere in the mountains.”

A collaborative effort including officials from the United States Forest Service, Missoula County Search and Rescue, the Bureau of Land Management, the Montana Highway Patrol, and Missoula County deputies then set off in search of the missing 5-month-old who was finally found at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

The unidentified infant was “clothed in only a wet and soiled onesie … in the woods, unattended and in the cold (approximately 46 degrees) for a minimum of 9 hours,” according to the statement.

Crowley is reportedly being held at the Missoula County Detention Facility on charges of criminal endangerment and police said that “additional charges will follow.”