An infant forced to endure horrific suffering for more than nine hours has miraculously survived, and the man responsible is now in jail.
The 5-month-old baby boy was found at 2:30 a.m. on Sunday after Francis Crowley, 32, told officials the infant was buried somewhere in the woods.
Missoula County Sheriff's Office deputies had been called to Lolo Hot Springs in the Lolo National Forest in Montana at 8 p.m. on Saturday because Crowley was seen threatening people and he had a gun. After he was detained, he told officials about the baby.
After a six-hour search, officers heard the baby cry from under a pile of firewood and rubble.
Despite being found face-down and soaking wet in frosty temperatures, the baby suffered only minor injuries.
5-month-old survives cold night buried in the Montana woods. Officials say the baby boy’s survival was nothing short of a miracle. pic.twitter.com/bKWodMY9i4— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 10, 2018
After the horrific incident, Crowley is being charged with criminal endangerment. He’s currently being held on $50,000 bond.
Missoula County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Brenda Bassett confirmed the young boy “suffered some minor scrapes and bruising but overall is in good health.”
She added that all officers involved were emotionally shook after the ordeal, and that for them, “it’s especially hard knowing what this small baby endured in the last 24 hours.”
“For all of us at the sheriff’s office, this is what we call a miracle,” she said.
Montana’s Division of Child and Family Services’ spokesman Chuck Council later confirmed the child was under their care but wouldn’t say where he would be placed.
This horrific criminal act against a defenseless baby is truly heartbreaking. However, it is uplifting to know that officials found him quickly enough to prevent a tragedy.