The strange case of porcelain dolls being left on the doorsteps of girls to whom they resemble has been solved.
According to investigators in California, eight families in the Talega community of San Clemente had been finding the dolls in front of their houses since mid-June, ABC News reports.
Immediately, concerned parents began filing police reports-but police said there was no crime to investigate. However, as more dolls began showing up, authorities began examining the dolls and meeting with the affected families, trying to find patterns and ensure the safety of children in the area.
"People said the dolls slightly resemble their 10-year-old daughters, which is creepy," Lt. Jeff Orange County Sheriff's Department Lt. Jeff Hallock said.
Within a short period of time, police discovered that an elderly woman who attends church with many of the families had found the dolls and given them to the young girls.
"Investigators made contact with the female adult who admitted to placing the porcelain dolls on the porch of the various residences in the community. Investigators have concluded that her motivation was out of goodwill and that she intended it as a kind gesture," revealed a news release issued late Thursday by the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
"There will be no further investigation of this case."
Following the news that the case had been solved, internet users responded with mixed emotions.
Some commenters expressed sorrow that an act of kindness was viewed with distrust by by parents.
"It's not creepy. What's creepy is that kind gestures from church are put to investigation and suspicion," wrote a user named Carlyerae.
"It's sad that we've gotten a point where kindness is viewed with suspicion," agreed another commenter named Marco.
Other commenters felt that although the situation was innocuous, the girl's parents acted wisely in response to the mystery.
"It is sad. But we've learned from experience that things like this can turn very, very, wrong. I have no doubt that this woman only wanted to bring a little bit of joy and magic to these girls, but it's also how predators get close enough to strike," commented Natalie Bliesener.
"I think she really meant it as a kind gesture. There are many people who believe in doing random acts of kindness. I doubt if it ever occurred to her that giving someone an anonymous gift would stir up such fear. I guess if anyone else ever wants to do that they need to at least leave a note explaining their intentions," wrote a user named Jan.