The Latest: Officers recount ‘faint whimper’ of missing baby
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The Latest on the abandonment of a 5-month-old baby in the woods in Montana (all times local):
Two Montana officers are recounting how they found a missing baby in the woods after a six-hour search.
Missoula County Sheriff’s Deputy Ross Jessop and U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer Nick Scholz say Francis Crowley, the man who is accused of leaving the 5-month-old boy Saturday, was no help.
They found the site where Crowley had crashed a car with the baby inside. They followed a trail of scattered toys and baby items as they searched an abandoned mountain road early Sunday.
They say they heard a faint whimper and then Jessop nearly stepped on the child. Jessop says he abandoned his police training and any thoughts of preserving evidence and scooped up the cold, soiled baby.
Jessop says he kissed the child and just held him before they walked him out of the woods.
A man accused of abandoning a 5-month-old baby in the woods of western Montana broke down when he heard the allegations against him in court.
Francis Crowley appeared by videoconference from jail in his Missoula County Justice Court hearing Tuesday on charges of assault on a minor and criminal endangerment.
As Judge Marie Andersen and Deputy County Attorney Brittany Williams recounted the accusations, the 32-year-old Crowley 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.
Andersen set bail at $200,000 and scheduled his next court date for July 25.
Searchers found the infant with scrapes and bruises but in otherwise good condition early Sunday. The baby had been covered in sticks and debris for at least nine hours.
Prosecutors say a man told investigators he left a 5-month-old baby boy in the woods after a car crash because the baby was very heavy.
Officers found the baby — cold and hungry — under a pile of debris and sticks early Sunday.
Francis Crowley, 32, is scheduled to appear in court in Missoula Tuesday on charges of assault on a minor and criminal endangerment.
Missoula County prosecutors say deputies were called to Lolo Hot Springs Saturday night because Crowley was creating a disturbance. Officers learned he and the baby had been in a crash.
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 nearby.
11:29 p.m. Monday
A 5-month-old infant who miraculously survived more than nine hours being buried under a pile of sticks and debris in the woods of western Montana suffered only minor injuries despite wearing wet and soiled clothes in cold weather, authorities said.
The baby boy is otherwise in good condition, authorities said.
Missoula County Sheriff’s deputies were called about 8 p.m. Saturday about a man threatening people in the Lolo Hot Springs area of the Lolo National Forest. Deputies apprehended the man, who indicated that a baby was buried somewhere in the woods.
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 at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
He found the baby face-down under the pile of sticks and debris, dressed only in a wet and soiled onesie in the 46-degree (8-degree Celsius) weather.