Police Thought The Worst About A Missing 5-Month-Old. Then A ‘Miracle’ Occurred.

"My cop instincts and my cop training ... went away."

A small voice led Montana police officers to the exact location of an abandoned infant, who — by a "miracle" — survived nine hours in the woods unattended. 

The 5-month-old boy was buried in the woods by his caretaker and Western Montana police officers spent six hours searching for him.

"All night long, I was preparing myself mentally to find a dead baby. ... I was angry, kind of, at the time," Ross Jessop, a Missoula County sheriff's deputy told CNN. "I was losing my faith ... that the baby was even alive."

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Jessop said the baby was found on a "whim." While walking up a hill, searchers heard a soft whimpering. The authorities dug through piles of sticks and debris and found the baby face down in a wet and cold onesie.

"I was so overcome with emotion that my cop instincts and my cop training ... went away," Jessop told CNN. "I just wrapped that baby up just like a father would any child in need."

At that moment, Jessop said he loved the baby as if he was his own child. 

"I have three kids myself, and I think without a question that hearing that little baby the other night brought to me more joy than even my own children coming into this world," he said. 

The police department praised the officer for their successful rescue. "For all of us at the sheriffs [sic] office, this is what we call a miracle," the department said in a statement posted on Facebook. 

According to reports, the caretaker of the child was seen moments before the baby went missing. When the man was apprehended, authorities say he mentioned the baby was possibly buried in the woods. He has since been charged with criminal endangerment.

As for the child, police say he is now in good condition. At a news conference on Tuesday, Jessop said, "He settled in pretty good. He was coughing a little bit, he actually coughed up a few sticks out of his mouth." 

The child suffered from minor scrapes and bruises, and is now in the care of Montana Child and Family Services Division.

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