A Montana man who had left a five-month-old infant in the woods alone for nine hours changed his plea to guilty. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

A Montana man who left a five-month-old infant in the woods alone for nine hours after he crashed his car while under the influence of meth and "bath salts," pleaded guilty Tuesday. He had previously pleaded not guilty during his first court appearance.

Francis Carlton Crowley, 32, of Portland, Montana, was charged with assault on a minor and criminal endangerment in July. On Tuesday, he pleaded no contest to assault on a child and now awaits sentencing March 12.

According to local news outlet the Missoulian, the baby was found by the police after they responded to a call of a man behaving strangely, threatening others, and speaking about a missing baby, in Lolo Hot Springs, a resort 35 miles west of Missoula, on July 8. During interrogation by the police at the time, Crowley heavily slurred his words, and repeatedly referred to an infant being buried in a mountain.

A search team was organized by the Missoula County Sheriff's Office, which found the baby under a pile of debris and sticks in the woods “facedown in a wet and soiled onesie with temperatures in the 40’s.” The “baby suffered some minor scrapes and bruising” but was said to be in good shape.

Missoula County Sheriff’s Deputy Ross Jessop, who came across the child, told Associated Press at the time that all he cared about at the moment was to make sure the infant was alright. “I abandoned any police training or any chance of saving evidence there — I didn’t care,” Jessop said. “I scooped up the baby, made sure he was breathing. He had a sparkle in his eye. [I] warmed him up, gave him a couple of kisses and just held him.”

The child was then handed over to Child and Family Services.

It was later reported that Crowley was the infant’s uncle. The accused told investigators that he left his nephew in the woods because the child was too “heavy” to carry. He also told the judge during his first hearing, “I love that f------ kid.”

Posting the news on its Facebook account in July, the sheriff’s office added an emotional note:

“On a more personal level, we want to take a moment to thank everyone who has played a role in this, even the smallest. Law enforcement officers can have a dreary outlook on life at times. Calls come in and you see people at their absolute worst day after day. But over the weekend, out of so much darkness came a little light. A baby was found...alive. In the last 48, we have received so many calls and messages from across the nation and outside of the U.S. offering to help, offering support, offering gratitude. It’s easy to look at the world as a dark place, but we have seen so many people come together for one single reason...humanity. Thank you to those who have reached out, sent prayers to this little baby, sent your thoughts. It matters. Thank you.”

Crowley was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child after the child’s hair tested positive for meth, but that charge was eventually dropped.