2014, July: Dolls of Orange County
On July 24, 2015, news of a quiet panic in a gated community leaked out to news services from Orange County in Los Angeles, California, in the United States. Dolls were being found on family doorsteps -- old, porcelain dolls -- and only at household with daughters in the range of ten years old. Several of the parents also noticed that the dolls left with them had the same eye and hair color as their daughters.
The implications -- that an unknown person was both watching their daughters and penetrating the privacy of the gated neighborhood -- was taken as an immediate threat by most of the families, and the Orange County Sheriff's Department was soon involved in the investigation. More dolls appeared after the police got involved, bringing the total number found up to ten, left on the doorsteps of eight families.
Soon, Facebook posts were spreading the news of the appearance of the "creepy dolls." The police issued a public statement on the matter:
"Sheriff’s investigators are actively reviewing and following up on information provided by each of the families involved. The porcelain dolls have been collected as evidence and are being examined in an attempt to identify their origin or discover clues as to who may be responsible for leaving them. Investigators are working with community members and the impacted families in an attempt to locate any possible connection between the homes where dolls were left."
When investigators gathered the families together to discuss the mysterious dolls, they discovered that all of the families attended the same church... and, "through social media," realized the likely culprit was a woman from their congregation who was trying to get rid of her collection of dolls.
The police contacted her and she confirmed she had been leaving the dolls as gifts for the families. She had also tried to match up the dolls with children they resembled by way of hair and eye color, explaining why a resemblance was noted by some of the families. She had intended the dolls as gifts for the families, a "gesture of goodwill"... but apparently hadn't realized how paranoid the average family in a gated community tends to be.