Short immediately smashed the car window to effect a rescue, calling for an ambulance as he attempted to administer CPR. When the rescue method failed, the officer checked to see if the airway was obstructed, and realized that the motionless body was a doll.
“I went to put my finger in its mouth and it was all resistance,” he said to WMUR-TV. “And I’m like, ‘This is a doll.'”
To the officer’s credit, the doll is designed to look and feel exactly like a real baby.
The doll is owned by Carolynne Seiffert, who lost her 20-year-old son to Hunter’s disease in 2005. She now collects realistic dolls, called “reborn” dolls, as a means to cope with her loss.
“I’ve been laughed at and embarrassed by all the fuss,” Seiffert said in a statement to local station WMUR. “You can’t know how people choose to deal with their losses in life.”
“I’d like this whole incident to have never happened,” Seiffert said in a written statement. “I was excited to have this type of doll and wanted her with me.”
Reborn dolls are often made with real human hair, painted with veins and filled with pellets to mimic the actual weight of a newborn.
Collectors of the dolls claim that they are useful transitional items for people who are suffering from loss or abandonment.
“For some women, such a transitional object eases them into ways of finding more external methods of dealing with their needs of caretaking and loving a being who loves them back,” psychiatrist Gail Saltz wrote, in an article about the dolls in 2008. “It is the concretized fantasy of getting unconditional love.”
The Keene police department will pay to fix Seiffert’s automobile window, and the officer maintains that he would not have done anything differently.
“I would never assume that it’s a doll,” Lt. Short told WMUR. “I would always assume that it’s a child. I would never do anything different.”
Seiffert has now created a custom sticker for her car which reads, “Reborn Dolls NOT real babies — Do NOT break windows!”