“It was a miracle,” Ross Jessup, a Missoula County sheriff’s deputy, said at a news conference on Tuesday. “I had prepared myself mentally to find a dead baby, if at all, and seeing and hearing that baby overcame me with so much joy.”
The sheriff’s office said authorities were called to the Lolo Hot Springs area of Montana’s Lolo National Forest at about 8 p.m. Saturday night (11 p.m. ET) on a report of a man threatening people and acting strange.
In the probable cause affidavit, prosecutors said Crowley had originally said he would take the officers to the baby’s location. But he was “disoriented” and potentially under the influence of drugs, so ultimately could not help, prosecutors wrote.
And so authorities began scouring on their own, Missoula County Sheriff T.J. McDermott said at a news conference on Tuesday. McDermott said officials found clues — baby formula, a diaper bag — strewn throughout the woods as they searched.
But what ultimately took them to the right spot was a sound — the faint cry of a baby.
It was 2:30 a.m. Sunday local time and 46 degrees outside when they found the infant, the sheriff’s office statement said. The boy — who was wearing only a wet, soiled onesie when authorities found him — was in protective custody on Tuesday night, officials said.
“When I heard that baby murmur, I was so happy. I was more happy than hearing my own daughters cry for the very first time,” Jessup said on Tuesday.