Social media 'momfluencer' convicted for lying about kidnapping in viral video
04/28/2023 2:44 pm PDT
PETALUMA, Calif. (TCD) -- A 31-year-old "momfluencer" was convicted this week for falsely accusing a Latino couple of trying to kidnap her children outside a Michael’s store in 2020.
According to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office, on Dec. 7, 2020, Kathleen Sorensen went to a Michael’s craft store with her two young children. After leaving the Michael’s parking lot, she called the Petaluma Police Department to report that a couple had tried to abduct her children.
KGO-TV reports that Sorensen identified the suspects as Sadie and Eddie Martinez.
Sorensen reportedly told police the couple made "comments concerning the children’s appearance as they walked behind her." She also reportedly said they followed her to her car, "loitered suspiciously, and then left when noticed by another individual nearby."
According to police, Sorensen initially said she "didn’t want anyone arrested, but only wanted to raise awareness of the suspicious behavior."
A week after the alleged incident, Sorensen reportedly posted an Instagram video "adding significant details that had not been disclosed to the Petaluma Police Department." The District Attorney’s Office said she also appeared on local news programs to share her story.
According to police, "The new information included an assertion that the male who had followed her around the store and out to the car had approached the stroller and tried to grab it."
Police said this would constitute an attempted child abduction if true, so officials obtained footage from the store and interviewed the suspects. Authorities also interviewed Sorensen again, and she was "definitive that the couple approached her children’s stroller and that the male reached for it; she stated she would testify to that fact, and that she wanted the couple prosecuted."
However, according to police, "To date, the investigation has produced no evidence or witnesses corroborating the account provided by the reporting party," and the investigation was closed.
The District Attorney’s Office announced April 27 that a jury convicted Sorensen of one count of making a false report of a crime. She was taken into custody with bail set at $100,000.
In a statement, District Attorney Carla Rodriguez said, "This verdict will enable us to hold Ms. Sorensen accountable for her crime, while at the same time helping to exonerate the couple that was falsely accused of having attempted to kidnap two young children. The case is also important in that it illustrates the importance of using social media responsibly."
Sorensen’s sentencing has not yet been scheduled, but she faces a maximum of six months in jail.
- Woman Convicted of Knowingly Making a False Report of Attempted Kidnap — Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office
- Press Release — Suspicious Circumstances, 12/7/2020 — Petaluma Police Department
- Mom accused of lying about kidnapping attempt outside Petaluma Michael’s store facing criminal charges — KGO
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