MISSOULA – We are learning more details about the baby was left alone for hours in the woods near Lolo Hot Springs over the weekend.
Court documents show that the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office responded to a disturbance call from Lolo Hot Springs on Saturday, July 6th. Authorities were also told that a car crash had occurred.
Deputies talked to witnesses — including the baby’s mother — when they arrived at the scene. Witnesses identified Francis Crowley as the driver of the vehicle and authorities began interviewing him.
Deputies soon discovered that Crowley did not have the child with him and appeared to be under the influence of dangerous drugs. Crowley later admitted to having taken both methamphetamine and bath salts, according to court documents.
Deputies began searching for the baby after Crowley was not able to lead officials to where he believed the baby to be. Those search efforts led law enforcement to a game trail where they discovered Crowley’s vehicle crashed into a tree.
The child was not in the vehicle so officers began following a trail of personal items until they heard a faint noise and uncovered the baby under a pile of sticks face down. The baby was cold to the touch and was wearing only a onsie that was soiled.
Crowley later admitted to leaving the baby after he grew tired of carrying him. He also told authorities that he can’t remember when he left the baby on the ground but that it was still hot out.
The baby was transported to the hospital and treated for dehydration, lack of food and scratches, cuts and bruises he sustained after spending approximately nine hours alone in the wilderness.
The child has been placed in the custody of Montana Child and Family Services. Detectives are continuing their investigation. Crowley is set to appear in court on Tuesday afternoon and we’ll have full coverage during the 5:30 News.
Watch the below video of a news conference that was held Tuesday afternoon to discuss the incident.