Prosecutors say suspect was high on meth and bath salts

Missoula County Jail

The Latest on the abandonment of a 5-month-old baby in the woods in Montana (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

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.


2:45 p.m.

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 admitted to being high on methamphetamines and bath salts.

Crowley did not enter a plea.

Crowley was visibly shaken during the reading of the charges and keeled over screaming expletives and shouting “ I loved that kid.”

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.


11 a.m.

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.

A man accused of abandoning a 5-month-old baby in the Montana woods is due in court on a child endangerment charge.

Missoula County officials say more charges are likely to be filed against 32-year-old Francis Crowley of Portland, Oregon, who is scheduled to be in court Tuesday afternoon.

Sheriff's deputies found the infant after a six-hour search buried beneath a pile of debris in the Lolo National Forest in western Montana. The baby had been there for at least nine hours, but was in good condition except for scrapes and bruises.

The Division of Child and Family Services is taking custody of the baby.

Missoula County sheriff's spokeswoman Brenda Bassett says two deputies plan to hold a news conference Tuesday to tell the story of how they found the child.

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