‘Mom Influencer’ Sentenced After Falsely Accusing Couple Of Trying To Kidnap Her Children
In 2020, Katie Sorensen falsely accused a couple of trying to kidnap her kids in a viral Instagram video and a local news program. Now, she will spend 90 days in jail for falsely reporting a crime.
On June 29, 2023, 30-year-old Katie Sorensen was sentenced for falsely reporting a crime. She must serve 90 days in jail, 60 of which could be served on a work release program.
Back on Dec. 7, 2020, white “mom influencer” Sorenson went to Michaels, a craft store, in Petaluma, California. She brought along her 4-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter. After she checked out with her purchases, she got her children into the car and left the store.
A few minutes later, Sorenson then called the Petaluma Police Department and reported that a Latino couple had tried to kidnap her children, reported The New York Times. Then, a week later, she put up a video on Instagram, which has since been deleted, in which she talked about how her children were nearly abducted. In that video, she gave significant details that were missing from her report to the police.
In the Instagram video that Sorenson recorded and shared, she stated that she wanted to encourage parents to be more aware of their surroundings when they were out with their children. In the video, which was viewed more than four million times, she also detailed how a couple had allegedly commented to her about the children and attempted to kidnap them.
As Sorenson’s video went viral and her online popularity soared, she appeared on a local news program to tell the story again. When the police followed up with her, she identified a couple from their surveillance footage as being the ones that tried to kidnap her children. However, the couple, Eddie Martinez, and his wife, Sadie Vega-Martinez, denied the allegations. They said they had just been at the store to shop.
Before Sorenson’s false accusations, she had developed a modest following on her Instagram account @motherhoodessentials, according to CBS News. She reportedly posted about things ranging from her daily life to conspiracy theories that were spread by QAnon followers, and her posts about the false kidnapping attempt attracted thousands of new followers to her account.
On April 27, 2023, Sorenson was convicted of “one count of making a false report of a crime”. Vega-Martinez, who had been falsely accused by Sorenson, said she was happy with the conviction. She told ELLE, “After [Sorensen] avoided accountability for years, and then hearing she was found guilty and walked out in handcuffs... yes, justice was served. I feel like it’s a step in the right direction for my family. I’m grateful for the support.”
Sorenson was taken into custody immediately following her June 29 sentencing. According to a press release from the Sonoma County District Attorney’s office, in addition to Sorenson’s 90-day sentence, she was also placed on informal probation for 12 months. During that time, she was ordered to have no social media presence. She also will be required to complete a four-hour implicit bias training, pay a variety of fines and fees, and “submit to warrantless search and seizure, to include her electronic devices”.