A police officer was so disturbed when he saw a baby in a hot car that he broke the window to rescue her. It wasn’t until he reached in that he realized his mistake.
Lt. Jason Short has seen a lot of things while working with the Keene police in New Hampshire, but nothing could have prepared him for what he’d find when he was called to a Walmart parking lot for a report of a baby locked inside a hot car after a passerby saw the child’s feet sticking out from under a blanket and a bottle on the seat, WMUR 9 reported.
When Officer Short arrived, he too noticed the infant’s feet sticking out from under the blanket, and he decided to act fast, knowing there wasn’t a moment to lose. Doing his job, he smashed the car window with his baton to rescue the baby from the hot car, and it was immediately obvious that she wasn’t breathing when he pulled the blanket away.
She was “pale, with splotchy skin, mouth slightly ajar, eyes closed,” the Sentinel Source reported. After immediately calling for an ambulance, the Lt. Short began CPR as a crowd of onlookers began to form. When Short put his mouth to the baby’s, he only met resistance. Air would not enter the child’s body to inflate the lungs. So, he tried to put his finger into the child’s mouth to determine what was obstructing the airway. That’s when he realized his big mistake.
Instead of a baby who had been locked inside a hot car, Lt. Short had rescued a lifelike doll belonging to Carolynne Seiffert. Because it was a doll and not a real child, the mouth would not open. Realizing it was not a distressed infant that he was holding in his hands, Short canceled the call for the ambulance and located the car’s owner.
Seiffert had been getting her hair cut in the nearby Super Cuts when the incident occurred. She explained to the officer that the doll, which she named Ainslie, was designed to look as much like a real baby as possible and is used to help some people cope with the loss of a child. She thought she had done the right thing by covering Ainslie up.
The doll, which Short said felt like a real baby when he picked it up, was purchased by Seiffert from a doll nursery for $2,300 the week before the incident. It is called a “reborn” doll and is handcrafted from silicone so it looks as realistic as possible. Seiffert, who lost her own son, has a collection of the reborn dolls.
At just two and a half years old, Seiffert’s son Bryan was diagnosed with Hunter’s Disease, a rare strain of Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) caused by his body’s inability to produce necessary enzymes. Although doctors said Bryan would succumb to the disease before his 15th birthday, he lived to be 20, passing away in 2006.
It was towards the end, in 2005, that Seiffert bought her first reborn doll. “Seiffert, who lives in Brattleboro with her husband and works for Vermont Yankee, wasn’t going to have more children. But she was drawn to the dolls’ lifelike beauty, and she wanted something to cuddle,” Sentinel Source further explained. Her collection has since grown to between 35 and 40 dolls.
Because of the heat in the car, Lt. Short’s report states the doll’s “skin” was hot to the touch and the baby was heavy. It was later revealed that the doll does weigh over 10 pounds. “I did not feel I could waste any time, literally every second counted,” Short added in his report on the incident. As his mind raced to his two daughters, Short pleaded aloud, “Come on baby, cry,” according to his report, truly believing the “infant” had succumbed to heat stroke in the hot car.
Keene police Sgt. James Cemorelis, a second responder to the scene, noted there was a “real car seat, a real blanket, real clothes, a real bottle, a real pacifier,” adding, “In essence, the entire scene was made to look as real as possible.” He concluded that Seiffert should have been more responsible.
Although she was initially angered over the incident, she now agrees she should have taken extra precautions. Seiffert says that she understands the anguish the situation caused, and she apologized. To prevent another occurrence like this from taking place, Seiffert has put a sticker on her car to alert others that the babies inside are not real.
“I don’t want people to judge me for what I enjoy,” Seiffert said. “You have not gone through the loss of a child — you don’t know what that’s like. It’s devastating.” Explaining that she’s “been laughed at and embarrassed by all the fuss,” she has a message for others. “You can’t know how people choose to deal with their losses in life.” However, if she does take Ainslie out again, she’ll be more cautious. “I’ve learned my lesson,” she said. “She’ll be very tightly wrapped.”