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Baby was buried alive in the Montana mountains, cops say. Deputy heard a 'faint cry'

A 5-month-old baby was found face down and buried under sticks and debris after a deputy heard a "faint cry" in the Montana mountains.
A 5-month-old baby was found face down and buried under sticks and debris after a deputy heard a "faint cry" in the Montana mountains. Missoula County Sheriff's Office/Facebook

Deputies in Montana knew they'd have to work quickly when a man they had in custody indicated that a 5-month-old baby was "possibly buried somewhere in the mountains."

Alongside a search and rescue team and officers with the United States Forest Service, deputies with the Missoula County Sheriff's Office began searching on foot Saturday evening.

Six hours passed with no signs of an infant .

That's when a deputy heard "the faint cry of a baby," the sheriff's office posted on Facebook. The deputy followed that faint sound until he found the baby, who was buried under sticks and debris while face down, according to the post. That was at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday.

The infant was in the woods for at least 9 hours, the sheriff's office said, while the temperature was about 46 degrees.

The baby's hand was caked with dirt and there was dirt under their fingernails, as seen in a photo the department posted. When found, the sheriff's office said the baby was "clothed in only a wet and soiled onesie."

Meanwhile, 32-year-old Francis Carlton Crowley is being held on suspicion of criminal endangerment. He had been arrested at about 8 p.m. on Saturday when people had called about a man "acting strange" in the Lolo Hot Springs area, the sheriff's office said. Callers said he had a gun and was threatening people.

When deputies found the man, he said a baby who was in his care hadn't been seen for several hours. The sheriff's office said Crowley appeared to be "under the influence of drugs and was not making sense to officers."

Crowley may face other charges, the sheriff's office said.

As of 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, the baby was in good condition at the hospital.

"For all of us at the sheriffs office, this is what we call a miracle," the department posted. "For the officers who were present for this event, its especially hard knowing what this small baby endured in the last 24 hours."

In 1982, two men arrived at a house near Janssen Place in Kansas City to shovel snow and found a baby girl abandoned on the back doorstep. Thirty-six years later, one of the men, Bob Hopkins, is on a mission to find out what happened to her.

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