Baby found buried alive in western Montana forest: police

US

(Reuters) – A 5-month-old infant was recovering on Tuesday after being buried alive in cold western Montana woods for about nine hours, and a 32-year-old man was in custody on charges of criminal endangerment, police officials said.

Francis Carlton Crowley, 32, appears in a booking photo provided by the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office in Montana, U.S., July 10, 2018. Missoula County Sheriff’s Office/Handout via REUTERS

Police responding to Saturday calls of a man acting strangely and possibly armed near Lolo Hot Springs, outside Missoula, encountered Francis Crowley, 32, who told them that a baby who had been left in his care was buried somewhere in the mountains, the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

That prompted a six-hour-long search that ended when the child, who was not identified, was found in a soiled one-piece garment alive and facedown on the ground early Sunday, when the temperature dropped to 46 degrees Fahrenheit (7.8 degrees Celsius).

Francis Carlton Crowley, 32, appears in a booking photo provided by the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office in Montana, U.S., July 10, 2018. Missoula County Sheriff’s Office/Handout via REUTERS

“A deputy heard the faint cry of a baby,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “He followed the sound and found the baby alive, facedown, buried under a pile of sticks and debris.”

The baby was taken to a hospital and was reported to be in good condition.

Crowley was charged with criminal endangerment and was being held at the Missoula County Detention Facility. He was expected to face additional charges, and it was not immediately clear what his relationship was with the child, a police statement said.

Missoula officials could not be reached for immediate further comment on Tuesday. It was not immediately clear whether Crowley had retained a lawyer.

Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Oatis

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