In today's day and age, the fear of losing your child has never been more rampant.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, about 800,000 individuals are reported missing every year, which means there's more than 2,000 missing persons a day.
The only thing that could make this matter worse is if nobody's aware that a child went missing, and that's exactly what happened when a five-month-old baby was found buried in the Montana mountains.
On July 7, the baby boy had been in the care of Francis Carlton Crowley, 32, who witnesses said was "acting strange" and "threatening people saying he had a gun."
By the time police arrived in the Lolo Hot Springs area, Crowley was nowhere to be found, and the infant hadn't been seen for "several hours."
When Crowley finally returned, he was promptly arrested, where deputies said he appeared as if he was "under the influence of drugs and was not making sense to officers."
During questioning, Crowley finally admitted that the unnamed baby "was possibly buried somewhere in the mountains."
Authorities were quick to take action and sent out a search party that included Missoula County Search and Rescue, the United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Montana Highway Patrol.
After a six-hour on-foot search, one of the deputies heard the faint cry of a baby, who found the infant "alive, face down, buried under a pile of sticks and debris," at about 2:30 a.m.
He was dressed in a wet and soiled onesie, and was estimated to be left alone for at least nine hours.
According to the Missoula County jail roster, Crowley has been charged with criminal endangerment with more to follow.
This isn't the first time Crowley has had a run-in with the law either. According to Dylan Arthur, executive director for the parole board in Oregon, Crowley is a fugitive of the state, and was under post-prison supervision for several counts of burglary and one count of criminal mischief.
Luckily, the child is in good condition and is expected to make a full recovery.
"For all of us at the sheriffs [sic] office, this is what we call a miracle," the press release said. "For the officers who were present for this event, it’s especially hard knowing what this small baby endured in the last 24 hours."
"Sheriff McDermott would like to thank those who assisted in the search and those who called 911, helping first responders bring this baby to safety," it added.
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