NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD spent Tuesday morning at the scene of what they believed was a gruesome case: An infant found dead a Queens park.
But after an investigation that spanned hours, they discovered the “infant” was just a doll, and it all may have been an elaborate hoax.
So how did police get it so wrong?
Police were called at 8:15 a.m. for an unconscious and unresponsive child near the side of a house at 215th Street and 35th Avenue, across from Crocheron Park in Bayside. EMS rushed to the scene and initially pronounced the “child” dead.
There was a large police turnout and crime scene set up as cops investigated the discovery. They set up a large yellow tarp to cover the “baby.”
Bayside residents were initially heartbroken to hear the news.
“I came down to just see what was going on,” a crying Lori Scolaro told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes. “That’s terrible. That’s terrible.”
“They were like, ‘Oh, there’s a dead body.’ I’m like, ‘What???’ That’s like news to me. Like this neighborhood, it never happens,” added resident Alexander Lara.
It turns out the joke was on the country’s largest police department. About four hours after the initial 911 call, the NYPD confirmed that baby was actually a lifelike doll.
“Wow, that looks pretty real,” Lara said. “It’s nonsense, like bringing all these cops and finding out it’s just a doll. It’s just really dumb.”
Sources called it an elaborate hoax, fooling not only EMS but initially the NYPD Crime Scene unit.
They said the doll was very lifelike, colored pinkish and blue, and appeared to be partially decomposed. Sources said it was found face down and looked bruised.
But when the Crime Scene Unit arrived after EMS and turned it over, they saw the supposed baby’s shirt read “The Crawling Dead,” and they knew something wasn’t quite right.
The police were then able to figure out the baby was actually a doll, Grymes reported.
John Jay College professor Joseph Giacalone is a retired NYPD sergeant.
“If I was running an investigation like this I would be videotaping, taking photos of the onlookers because, in my opinion, that person or persons is in the crowd watching this, enjoying the excitement of it all,” Giacalone said.
Neighbors said they hope that person is brought to justice.
“I don’t know who would do that, but I hope they find who did because it’s really like so unfortunate that so many people spent so much time this morning investigating it,” said Katarina Prasso of Bayside.
Police are also examining whether the 911 caller possibly filed a false report.
It’s not clear if anyone will face charges, or what the motive was.