Severed Child's Foot Near Trash? 'Not Human' says NYPD

Paul Lawrence found what appeared to be the rotting remains of a child's foot near his backyard trash in Queens. (November 7, 2011)

It turns out the foot belonged to a bear.

The NYPD backed off from a preliminary finding that a fleshy bone found near a Queens man's backyard trash can was a child's foot.

"The Medical Examiner has determined it's not human," a police department spokeswoman told PIX 11 Monday morning.

The police Crime Scene Unit and cadaver dogs showed up at Paul Lawrence's Rosedale, Queens home late Sunday afternoon, after he made the disturbing discovery, as he was putting out the trash about 4:30 p.m. by his house on 139th Avenue, near 251st Street.

"There's a concrete platform back there where I put out the garbage," Lawrence told PIX 11, as he showed us a cell phone photo of his grisly find. "That's where I saw it."

Lawrence immediately called 911.

Detectives descended on the scene as well as a representative from the Medical Examiner's office. The NYPD said the M.E.'s represenative initially thought the find "looked like the foot of a child about 3-years-old."

The discovery sent some local residents into a panic, as they feared a child killer was on the loose. But things calmed down Monday morning, when testing by the Medical Examiner's office showed the foot was not human.

When Paul Lawrence learned the news, he responded, "No animal--or human--should be slaughtered in any unfriendly way."

Now, city officials have to figure out how a bear's foot ended up in Queens, which is not known to have many bear sightings.