Man pleads not guilty to leaving baby in Montana woods

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A 32-year-old man has denied charges that he abandoned a 5-month-old baby in the woods of western Montana after a car crash.

Francis Carlton Crowley of Portland, Oregon, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in District Court to assault on a minor and criminal endangerment. He remains jailed in Missoula County with his bail set at $200,000.

Prosecutors say Crowley was under the influence of drugs when he caused a disturbance at Lolo Hot Springs on July 7. Crowley told responding officers the baby he had been caring for was buried in the mountains, but he was unable to be more specific.

Deputies searching the Lolo National Forest found the baby — cold, hungry and covered in debris— at about 2:30 a.m. on July 8.

Crowley said he left the baby after the crash because the baby was very heavy.