Creepy dolls resembling residents left on doorsteps of California homes

Posted at 1:15 PM, Jul 25, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-25 20:15:56-04

San Clemente, CA (KTLA) — The porcelain dolls left at the homes of eight families in San Clemente and resembling young girls who live there were left in a gesture of “goodwill,” the Orange County Sheriff’s Department stated in a tweet Thursday night.

Investigators located the person who left the dolls on the porches, the Sheriff’s Department tweeted shortly after 9 p.m. The department did not release the person’s name.

The dolls had caused some concern among the families that had received them.

Some of the girls, all about 10 years old, attend the same elementary school, Lt. Jeff Hallock said.

“Families in each of the homes where porcelain dolls were left voiced concern that the dolls resembled their daughters,” the Sheriff’s Department stated in a news release.

Up to 11 dolls were left in front of the girls’ homes, Hallock said. He initially said four dolls had been placed in front of homes, then revised that figure to eight and then 11.

No notes or threatening messages were attached to the dolls, which Hallock called “creepy or very unusual.”

The families all live in the same residential development, known as Talega.

The dolls, first reported on Tuesday, were taken into evidence and investigators had been trying to determine what prompted someone to leave them. They weren’t being considered a crime, Hallock said.

“Is it a prank? Is there some specific motivation?” Hallock had said earlier. “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.”

By Thursday night, however, investigators had concluded that a female adult who lived in the community and attended church had placed them ont he porches of the girls.

“Investigators have concluded that her motivation was out of goodwill and that she intended it as a kind gesture,” a news release from the department stated.

Authorities had concluded the investigation, the release stated.

Photos provided by Hallock showed two of the dolls — one in a blue dress and one in a pink dress. The latter doll was accompanied by a bunny wearing a pink bow and small white bunny slippers.

After the case gained attention on Thursday, the mother of a 5-year-old girl who lives in Talega told KTLA that the family had discovered wooden toys at the family’s front door two weeks ago.

The toys appeared to be figurines of three girls with interchangeable clothing. The mother, who did not want to be identified, contacted authorities on Thursday after becoming concerned about the dolls placed elsewhere in the community.

It was not immediately clear if the both incidents were connected.

The parents of the families who received the dolls did not want to speak about the incidents, but other San Clemente mothers said they were disturbed.

“You don’t hear or see anything like that,” one mom said. “Only in the movies. … We’re in a bubble here in south Orange County.”

Anyone with information was asked to call the Sheriff’s Department’s South Investigations Unit at 949-361-8224 or 714-647-7000. Anonymous tipsters may call 855-847-6227 or go to