Initially, the New York Police Department thought they were attending a horrific crime scene after receiving a 911 call that reported the discovery of a dead baby near Crocheron Park in Bayside. What they found instead was a prank. A doll, complete with realistic make-up to make it look like it was decomposing, had been placed at the site.
According to CBS New York, initial reports regarding the incident saw police 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.” When they arrived, the baby was pronounced dead at the scene and investigations began.
Due to a large crowd, the emergency crew on hand set up a crime scene and covered the “baby” in a yellow tarp.
Neighbors in the area were initially devastated at the news that a baby had been found deceased and out in the open.
“I came down to just see what was going on,” Lori Scolaro told CBS2. “That’s terrible. That’s terrible.”
Another resident, Alexander Lara, also said that they were shocked at the news, stating that nothing ever happens like this in their neighborhood.
#UPDATE: Police say the "baby" that was found dead in Queens is apparently an ELABORATE PRANK. They say it was a lifelike doll made up to look as if it was a decomposing infant. It initially fooled first responders. https://t.co/FaVYmbOo31
— CBS New York (@CBSNewYork) June 18, 2019
It is now suggested that the NYPD quickly identified that the baby was a hoax and really a doll. However, it took four hours for this news to break.
After hearing the news of the prank, Lara said that it was “really dumb” that someone would trick the police like that.
“Wow, that looks pretty real,” Lara added.
“It’s nonsense, like bringing all these cops and finding out it’s just a doll.”
It has been confirmed by sources that the doll appeared very life-like when police and EMS arrived at the scene, with the doll displaying what appeared to be bruising as it lay, face down on the ground. A graphic image of the doll can be found here.
When the baby was turned over, the crew on the scene noticed the slogan “The Crawling Dead” on the doll’s clothing and suspected something was not right.
As soon as the prank was confirmed, police turned towards identifying who would create such an elaborate hoax. They are also trying to establish whether or not the person who made the initial 911 call was involved.
According to Joseph Giacalone, who is a professor at John Jay College as well as being a retired NYPD sergeant, police should pay close attention to the crowd that was gathered at the crime scene on Tuesday morning.
“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.”