Police broke into a car outside a hospital to rescue what they thought was an abandoned baby – only to discover it was a lifelike doll. Janaih Rattray, 10, had left her baby doll named Ryan wrapped in a blanket on the back seat of her 20-year-old sister Delesia’s parked car. The sisters were going to visit their mum Carole Johnson, 43, in A&E at Russell’s Hall hospital in Dudley.
A concerned passerby spotted the doll, thinking a baby had been left alone in a car, and two police officers were called. The cops found what they thought was a baby “wrapped tightly in a blanket and with its face and arms covered”, a police spokesman wrote on the West Midlands Facebook page. “The duo feared that a depressed new mother had left her ‘baby’.”
The police used the PA system in the hospital to ask the owner to return to the car but as time ticked away, they decided to break into the car. “The extremely lifelike doll was wrapped in a kiddies blanket with only the top of its head exposed,” they said. “Efforts were made to trace the owner of the car. But believing this was a genuine emergency, they broke a window to investigate further.”
The owner of the car, Delesia Rattray was stunned to see that her car had been broken into when she returned. “When I went outside to the car I found the back window behind the driver’s seat had been smashed in and there was glass all over the seats,” she told the Daily Mail. “I thought it was weird and then I found a note from the police to ring them.”
The police caused £90 of damage to the window, but will reimburse Delesia. “The doll does look a bit real, like a baby a few months old, but if you look at the hands, which weren’t inside the blanket, and feet you can tell it isn’t,” she said.
“We think the officers did the right thing when faced with what they genuinely believed was a baby, alone and critically ill in a locked car on the hospital’s car park,” a spokesman for West Midlands police said.
The police have now taken to their Facebook page to ask the public what they’d do in the same situation. “WHAT WOULD YOU DO? We’re asking people to put themselves in the shoes of two Dudley police officers who came across what they thought was a newborn baby locked in a car,” they posted.
And they’ve been overwhelmed with support from the public. “They ABSOLUTELY did the right thing and well done to the officers who investigated so quickly. The fact that they were called to the hospital confirms that they were not the only ones who had concerns,” one user commented.
“These dolls are scarily lifelike, even when not half covered up. As you say, had it been a real baby, the officers would never forgive themselves if they’d not acted. It’s unfortunate but if the costs are covered, the owner is only inconvenienced by having the repairs done,” another added.