Residents of an upscale San Clemente neighborhood said they were relieved now that the mystery of the porcelain dolls is solved.
The dolls, which were placed outside several homes where girls lived, had sparked concern, with some residents worried someone was targeting the kids. The Orange County Sheriff's Department investigated the case and concluded it was all harmless.
Residents said they were glad the matter was settled and that everyone came together while the sheriff's department investigated.
"That's the way the neighborhood is. You know, people just kind of look out for each other. They do things for each other,” resident Jason Ewell told the "Today" show. "It's nice that people don't have to really be concerned now."
Over the last week, a mother whose children had grown up discreetly dropped off eight to 10 dolls on residents’ door steps – each of them bearing a resemblance to a little girl living in the home. But the ornate dolls, left without any written message, unnerved residents.
Added Sheriff Lt. Jeff Hallock: “I think everyone was so worked up and concerned that when they found out it was her being kind, most people just breathed a sigh of relief."
“Because her intentions were good, she felt embarrassed at the fear she instilled in the community,” said Hallock. “She just thought she was being nice.”
Because the woman’s children had outgrown playing with dolls, she elected to give them away, Hallock said.
“When she was deciding which dolls to give to which girls, she did make a conscious decision that she thought certain dolls resembled certain girls,” Hallock said.
Investigators soon discovered a common thread among the homeowners who received the dolls: They attended the same church. It wasn't long before they were able to track down the woman and contact her.
Authorities have declined to release the woman's name.
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