More than 20 emergency responders took hours to determine that a lifeless baby in a "Crawling Dead" shirt was a fake.

The horrifying news came in just as New York City was coming to life on a routine Tuesday morning: A jogger in a Queens park had spotted a lifeless baby in the grass and called police.

Dozens of police officers quickly arrived to find a discoloured infant on its stomach in Crocheron Park.

It was lying next to a wall, raising the prospect that someone had thrown the infant over the wall and fled.

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The authorities began releasing details