Missoula, MT. – Francis Carlton Crowley, 32, will make his initial court appearance today, facing felony charges after a weekend incident where Crowley allegedly left a 5-month-old baby alone in the woods for at least 9 hours, buried under sticks and debris.
Over the weekend, the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office were called out to check on a male suspect, who was acting strange, now known to be Crowley. While deputies were enroute, additional callers indicated that Crowley was threatening people saying he had a gun and was reaching in his pockets. Upon arrival, deputies discovered that 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.
Crowley was later apprehended when he returned to the area. When trying to question Crowley, he appeared to be under the influence of drugs and was not making sense.
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. The baby was found facedown in a wet and soiled onesie, buried under a pile of sticks and debris. The infant was left in the woods, unattended in temperatures in the 40’s, for a minimum of 9 hours. The baby suffered some minor scrapes and bruising but was found to be in overall good health.
The case was referred to Child and Family Services and the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office is continuing with their investigation.