The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office released the following statement regarding the incident that occurred near Lolo Hot Springs this weekend.

'Members of the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office were called out last night at approximately 8 pm for a male suspect who was acting strange in the Lolo Hot Springs area. While deputies were enroute, additional callers indicated the male suspect was now threatening people saying he had a gun and was reaching in his pockets. Upon arrival, deputies discovered the suspect, 32-year-old Francis Carlton Crowley, had left the area and that a 5-month-old who had been left in his care had not been seen for several hours.

While attempting to locate Crowley, a 911 caller said the suspect had returned to the hot springs. Deputies responded and Crowley was apprehended. When trying to question Crowley, he appeared to be under the influence of drugs and was not making sense to officers.

Statements made by Crowley indicated the baby was possibly buried somewhere in the mountains. Due to the urgency of this matter, members of Missoula County Search and Rescue were paged out to assist officers from the United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Montana Highway Patrol, and Missoula County deputies in a ground search. After more than 6 hours of searching on foot, a deputy heard the faint cry of a baby. He followed the sound and found the baby alive, face down, buried under a pile of sticks and debris. Clothed in only a wet and soiled onesie, the baby was found at approximately 2:30 am, putting the infant in the woods unattended and in the cold (approximately 46 degrees) for a minimum of 9 hours. The baby was transported to a local hospital and is in good condition.

32-year-old Francis Carlton Crowley is being held at the Missoula County Detention Facility on charges of criminal endangerment and additional charges will follow.'

Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Brenda Bassett termed the rescue of the five month-old infant truly 'a miracle', and thanked all the hard working individuals who searched all night for the missing child.

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