Montana man says he left baby because infant was heavy

Blanche Robertson
July 11, 2018

The Sheriff's Office said authorities went searching for the baby after receiving a report of a man acting erratically and threatening people in the Lolo Hot Springs area in Montana's Lolo National Forest at 8 p.m. on Saturday.

Crowley left the area before deputies arrived, but they learned that the baby who was supposed to be with him hadn't been seen for hours.

The deputy heard the "faint cry of a baby" during the search and followed the sound, only to find the boy alive early Sunday, facedown, buried under a pile of sticks and debris, a statement from the sheriff's office said.

Crowley was taken into custody and is now being held at the Missoula County Detention Facility on charges of criminal endangerment.

Crowley made statements to officers saying the baby was possibly buried in the mountains.

Crowley allegedly told police left the baby after the crash because he was too heavy, authorities said.

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The MCSO, United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the Montana Highway Patrol teamed up to search the forest for the following six hours before the baby was found at around 2:30 am on Sunday. Eventually, they spotted Crowley's crashed vehicle, but the baby was not inside, court records said.

Officers followed a trail of personal items, including baby formula and a diaper bag, down the slope from the crash.

He found the baby face-down under the pile of sticks and debris, dressed only in a wet and soiled onesie in the 46-degree weather. The child was taken to hospital, after which he was put into the custody of the state Division of Child and Family Services.

"For all of us at the sheriffs [sic] office, this is what we call a miracle", the release said. "For the officers who were present for this event, it's especially hard knowing what this small baby endured in the last 24 hours". As deputies tried to question him, Crowley appeared to be under the influence of drugs and was not making sense to officers, it said.

Crowley is from Portland, Oregon, and was previously arrested in June in Missoula on a fugitive warrant from Oregon, the Missoulian reported.

Crowley told police that he was high on drugs and put the baby down because he was exhausted of carrying him, an arrest affidavit showed. There was no information on whether Crowley had an attorney.

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