A man accused of abandoning a five-month-old baby in the woods of western Montana broke down when he heard the allegations against him in court before giving a disturbing reason for his actions.
Francis Crowley appeared by videoconference from jail in his Missoula County Justice Court hearing on charges of assault on a minor and criminal endangerment and prosecutors said he left the infant behind following a car crash because it was was “very heavy,” according to an affidavit obtained by NBC News.
As the accusations were recounted, Crowley, 32, doubled over and fell to the floor. He twice exclaimed that he loves the boy and implored the judge not to take him away.
Crowley did not enter a plea.
His bail was set at $200,000 and will next appear in court on July 25.
He and the baby had been in a car accident
Officers found the “miracle” baby — cold and hungry — under a pile of debris and sticks early Sunday.
Missoula County prosecutors say deputies were called to Lolo Hot Springs Saturday night because Crowley was creating a disturbance. Officers then learned he and the baby had been in a car accident.
Charging documents say Crowley was disoriented, likely because of drug use, and unable to help officers find the baby.
Searchers followed a road Crowley said he had traveled and eventually found the car and the baby close by.