32 year-old Francis Crowley, the man accused of crashing a vehicle in the woods near Lolo Hot Springs and abandoning a five month-old child buried under a pile of sticks, appeared in Missoula Justice Court on Tuesday.

With Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst looking on, Deputy County Attorney Brittany Williams related the charges to Judge Marie Anderson while Crowley watched via video from the Missoula County Jail.

“He’s charged with assault on a minor that has a penalty enhancement based on the child’s age,” began Williams. “Additionally, he’s charged with criminal endangerment. The defendant drove a vehicle deep into the woods with a five month-old child in the vehicle. He crashed that car and ultimately abandoned the child for at least nine hours, exposing the child to the elements of the forest. Eventually, the child was found by Search and Rescue, face down on the ground, covered in sticks. He was found wearing only a soiled onesie with no food or water.”

Williams said Crowley admitted to being high on methamphetamine and bath salts.

“The state would like to inform the court of this defendant’s extensive criminal history, starting with a felony burglary in 2005, and ending in the present with the fact that this defendant is a parole absconder from Oregon, and was at the time of this offense.”

While Williams was communicating with the judge, Crowley was cursing and weeping at the jail, pounding his head on a table while proclaiming his love for the child.

Judge Anderson set bail at $200,000 and ordered Crowley to appear again in court on July 25.

If convicted on all charges, Crowley could spend up to 30 years in the Montana State Prison and pay fines of up to $50,000.

The child is now in the custody of the Montana Department of Health and Human Services.

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