Over the last week, a mother whose children had grown up discreetly dropped off eight to 10 dolls on residents' door steps – each them bearing a resemblance to a little girl living in the home. But the ornate dolls, left without any written message, unnerved residents.
"Because her intentions were good, she felt embarrassed at the fear she instilled in the community," said Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff 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.
Due to the fact there was no note attached to the dolls, all that residents knew was that someone for some reason had left a doll that looks like their daughter on their front door step without being seen, which gave off a "creepy" vibe, Hallock told City News Service.
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.
Parents, many of whom know the woman through the church, were relieved.
"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," Hallock said.
Even though there was no criminal aspect to the doll drop-offs, Hallock said the sheriff's department dedicated resources to the case as if it were because of the fear it created.