Police Crack the Case of the Creepy Porcelain Dolls Left on Neighborhood Doorsteps

A number of Orange County residents were greeted by these unsettling "presents," but it appears the mystery has been solved.

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Families in San Clemente, California, found a strange surprise on their doorstep this week: porcelain dolls. Eleven families reported finding the dolls, with each doll resembling a little girl who lived in the house. Understandably, the families called in Orange County police to investigate this very strange, and creepy, development. But late last night the Sheriff's Department said they solved the riddle.

The little girls targeted were around ten years old, and most of them go to the same elementary school. The families also all live in the same residential neighborhood of Talega. At the beginning of the week, only four dolls were reported, but the number then jumped to eight, then to eleven.

Parents who reported the incidents were especially concerned by the resemblance of the dolls to their own daughters, according to the local Sheriff's Department. The sheriff did not consider this a crime, but they did launch an investigation and reached out to the public for help.

"Is it a prank? Is there some specific motivation?," questioned the Sheriff’s Department Lt. Jeff Hallock. "Obviously, there’s an indication by some the parents that the dolls resemble their daughters. We’re talking about children here. Anything that has the potential to involve children causes us some concern.”

Late on Thursday night however, the OCSD announced they had cracked the case. Police questioned a "female adult" who lives in the community and attends church with the many of the families. The woman, who remains unidentified, admitted to leaving the dolls behind, but says it was intended as a gesture of "goodwill."

After the story broke, another parent came forward with strange dolls left on their doorstep two weeks ago (pictured left.) These dolls appeared at the house of a five-year-old girl. Unlike the other porcelain dolls, these were wooden toys, complete with three female dolls who have interchangeable clothing. It's not clear if the different dolls were left by the same person.

While the porcelain dolls to look much creepier than the wooden dolls, the entire situation is just quite unpleasant, and likely scarring for the little girls. But police now consider the matter closed.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.