A California woman who spooked her small community by anonymously leaving porcelain dolls on the doorsteps of fellow churchgoers that eerily resembled their daughters told police she is embarrassed by the incidents, authorities said on Friday.
The dolls, some wearing fuzzy slippers or frilly gowns, turned up at more than a half-dozen homes in San Clemente last week, according to Orange County Sheriff's Lieutenant Jeff Hallock.
Interviews with families that received the dolls led authorities to the local woman, who then admitted her involvement, he said. She has not been publicly identified.
The woman, who attended church with most of the girls' families, said she did not mean to scare anyone, he said.
"She felt like some of the girls would enjoy the dolls," Hallock said.
She has daughters of her own who are too old to play with dolls, he said.
The woman said she wanted the dolls to resemble the children who received them and matched their hair and eye colour, Hallock said.
After delivering a few of the dolls, the woman noticed on social media that some families were frightened, he said. She stopped leaving the dolls when some parents called for a criminal investigation.
"She felt really embarrassed," Hallock said.
No charges were filed, and the sheriff's department has closed its investigation, chalking it up to an act of good will gone wrong, Hallock said.