Officers recount 'faint whimper' of missing baby

5-Month-Old Baby Found Alive After Spending More Than 9 Hours Buried in Woods

"A baby was found. alive", they wrote in a statement.

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.

Court documents show that the Missoula County Sheriff's Office responded to a disturbance call from Lolo Hot Springs on Saturday, July 6. "For the officers who were present for this event, it's especially hard knowing what this small baby endured in the past 24 hours".

Crowley made statements to officers saying the baby was possibly buried in the mountains. He variously said the baby was lying on the side of the road or had died and was buried in the woods.

Jessop then called for a search and rescue team to scour the area for the auto Crowley was allegedly driving, he said.

"It was just a whimper", Deputy Ross Jessop said, describing the sound he heard. Later on Jessop adds, "It was nearly like he was waiting for us to find him".

This July 8 photo provided by the Missoula County Sheriff's Office shows a 5-month-old infant with dirt under his fingernails after authorities say the baby survived about nine hours being buried under sticks and debris in the woods. They discovered the baby in a heavily wooded area on private property, at about 2:30 a.m. They heard it another time before locating the baby face down and picking him up, he said. "I was literally taking a step and I was about ready to walk on the baby's head".

Jessop said the 5-month-old was cold and wet.

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The baby was dressed in only a onesie, according to the sheriff's office. "And he said yeah, absolutely", Jessop said. "I had prepared myself mentally to find a dead baby, if at all, and seeing and hearing that baby overcame me with so much joy".

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.

Custody of the child has been referred to the state Division of Child and Family Services. Detectives are continuing their investigation.

The relationship status between Crowley and the baby was not immediately clear. The baby's mother was also at the camp site, Jessop said.

Police arrested Crowley and charged him with criminal endangerment and assault on a minor.

The man allegedly later confessed to police that he was in fact using methamphetamine and bath salts, according to The Missoulian.

In court on Tuesday, it emerged that Crowley reportedly crashed his auto that night and chose to leave the baby in the woods because he was "heavy", USA Today reported. He was released after authorities in OR declined to extradite him, according to the AP.

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.



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