According to investigators, that's when Crowley told them the baby was "possibly buried" somewhere in the mountains.
The case started about 8 p.m. Saturday when sheriff's deputies responded to a report about a man acting unusual and threatening people in the Lolo Hot Springs area, which is about 50 miles southwest of Missoula. The caller told dispatch the man was threatening people and saying he had a gun while reaching into his pockets.
Crowley returned to the hot springs and was apprehended by police, the release states. Deputies say Crowley appeared to be under the influence of drugs and was not making sense.
Almost six-and-a-half hours later, an officer heard "the faint cry of a baby", and found the child face down on the ground, buried under a pile of forest debris.
A 5-month-old baby was found alive after being buried under a pile of sticks in the Montana woods for at least nine hours, according to authorities, who called the survival a "miracle". In total, the sheriff's office estimates authorities spent more than six hours searching for the baby early Sunday morning.
Francis Crowley, 32, was being held on $US50,000 bail on a charge of criminal endangerment.
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Missoula County Search and Rescue was called in to help as well as officers from the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Montana Highway Patrol and Missoula County deputies. He found the 5-month-old alive but face down and buried under a pile of sticks. The baby was wearing "only a wet and soiled onesie".
"He suffered some minor scrapes and bruising but overall is in good health", sheriff's spokeswoman Brenda Bassett said in a statement Monday.
It wasn't clear what Crowley's relationship is to the child or who the boy's mother is.
Bassett says in a news release that they "will not be providing names or confirming any identities in an effort to protect this baby's identity". "For the officers who were present for this event, [it's] especially hard knowing what this small baby endured in the last 24 hours". There was no information on whether Crowley had an attorney.
It was was 2:30 a.m. Sunday local time and 46 degrees outside when they found the infant, the sheriff's office statement said.
Crowley is reportedly being held at the Missoula County Detention Facility on charges of criminal endangerment and police said that "additional charges will follow".