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SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. (AP/USA TODAY) -- They sent a creepy feeling through several Southern California families, but authorities say the person who left porcelain dolls on doorsteps didn't mean any harm.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department said Thursday that someone had left the dolls wearing nightgowns and lace dresses at as many as eight homes in a San Clemente neighborhood this week.

The families were worried because they felt each doll resembled a young girl who lived in the house, setting off an investigation and call for public help in finding who had placed them.

Police in Orange County, California say they've solved the mystery behind a series of porcelain dolls that were left on the doorsteps of homes where little girls lived. They say the girls' worried parents and neighbors can now breathe easier.

The department said investigators began pursuing a woman who goes to church with the families who received dolls.

The woman admitted to placing the porcelain dolls at the homes.

"Her motivation was out of goodwill," the statement said. "It was a kind gesture."

Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock told City News Service the dolls and their apparent resemblance to real girls left families feeling "creepy."

The police said they will not investigate the case any further.

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