A 5-month-old infant who had been buried under piles of sticks and debris in Montana wilderness was miraculously found alive — at least nine hours later.

The man accused of abandoning the child said the infant was too "heavy."

Police received reports of a man “acting strange” around Lolo Hot Springs, Montana and as they headed to the area, more reports came in saying the man was threatening people, claiming to have a gun.


Francis Carlton Crowley, 32, had left the area by the time Missoula County Sheriff's Office deputies arrived. Even more concerning: A 5-month-old baby boy that was left in Crowley's care hadn’t been seen for several hours.

When deputies were able to locate him, police said he appeared intoxicated and made statements indicating the baby might be buried somewhere in the mountains.

A host of departments, including local Search and Rescue officers as well as members of the United States Forest Service, came together to look for the missing infant.

Search party

“After more than 6 hours of searching on foot, a deputy heard the faint cry of a baby," police said in a statement. "He followed the sound and found the baby alive, face down, buried under a pile of sticks and debris.”

The baby was clothed only in a wet and soiled onesie, police said. It was about 46 degrees that night.

In court an emotional Crowley told investigators he left the infant in the woods after crashing his car, because the child was “heavy,” court documents state. He told the judge he loved the child and pleaded not to be taken away.