New Yorkers went from horror to disbelief Tuesday when an apparent dead baby turned out to be a discarded doll, NBC New York reports. Emergency responders declared the "child" dead before 8am in a Queens park, triggering the arrival of at least 100 cops who pitched a crime-scene tent and scoured the scene. A woman whose children go to school nearby could hardly speak: "That's terrible," she said as she covered her mouth and choked up. "That's terrible. I'm sorry—I can't—it's a baby. I can't." Collective horror mounted until a team from the Medical Examiner's office showed up and noticed that the baby wore a "Crawling Dead" T-shirt, per the New York Times. They also noticed the baby was synthetic.
That triggered a fresh round of relief and outrage as people asked how the mistake stood for about three hours. There's also the question of who dared waste police time. "Any time a child is involved in any kind of crime, the police department goes crazy, so they all come running," says the head of a local community council. "Once it becomes a major crime scene, you have so many departments and everyone gets blocked off." As police investigate, a sergeant says they should have video-taped onlookers at the park—"because, in my opinion, that person or persons is in the crowd watching this, enjoying the excitement of it all," he tells CBS New York. (Read more prank stories.)