Francis Carlton Crowley, 32, was arrested and held on charges of criminal endangerment after he allegedly left the child, who had been placed in his care, alone in the woods.
The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office said they received a call at about 8 p.m. Saturday about a man acting strangely. Other callers reported that the man was threatening people.
When officers arrived, they found Crowley had left the area and that a 5-month-old left in his care had "not been seen for several hours," police said.
Thanks to a tip, officers found Crowley, who police say "under the influence of drugs," and not making sense. He did indicate, however, the baby was possibly buried somewhere in the mountains, authorities said.
Police quickly dispatched a search and rescue team to search for the infant. After six hours of searching, a deputy heard the faint cry of a baby and found the child alive and “face down, buried under a pile of sticks and debris,” at 2:30 a.m.
Police believe the baby had been left unattended in the woods for a minimum of nine hours.
"It was really a miracle," Brenda Bassett, a public information officer for the department, told InsideEdition.com. "So many times law enforcement are used to having the bad story to tell, not one where there is something so good at the end."
The baby was taken to a local hospital and is in good health.
“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," the department wrote on their Facebook page.
More charges are forthcoming for Crowley, police said. He will make his first court appearance Tuesday.