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Police responded to a 911 call reporting what looked to be an unconscious baby by 215th Street and 35th Avenue about 7:40 a.m. Tuesday, an NYPD spokesperson said.
Police initially told news reporters that first responders pronounced the three-month-old baby “dead” from an unknown cause. Officers cordoned off a crime scene, and detectives started searching the area for evidence.
Then representatives from the city medical examiner’s office came to pick up the body and discovered the “baby” was just a prop, according to the Associated Press.
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As the morning wore on, New Yorkers became collectively horrified that an innocent baby could be discarded like so much litter. But more than two hours after the police arrived, there was another news development: The dead baby was actually a doll.
It was not until 10:45 a.m. — a full three hours after the emergency medical technicians first declared it a dead infant — that a team from the city’s Medical Examiner’s office made the doll determination, a delay that prompted a second round of outrage and story updates.
A Fire Department spokesman said the doll initially “appeared to be a baby with discoloration consistent with signs of prolonged death,” and that its Bureau of Emergency Medical Services would “conduct a medical review of the incident.”