All A Hoax?! Mommy Influencer Under Investigation After Claiming Her Children Were Targets Of A Kidnapping
People do some ridiculous things to get viral fame, but one aspiring mommy influencer may have taken the cake.
The Petaluma Police Department said in a statement they have officially launched an investigation into a California woman who reported an attempted child abduction to authorities — an abduction that is now considered to potentially be false.
According to a police press release, the woman reported what she claimed was suspicious behavior from a man and woman toward her children in the parking lot of a Michael’s craft store on December 7. The woman told authorities the couple “made comments concerning the children’s appearance,” and “followed her out to her car, loitered suspiciously, and then left when noticed by another individual nearby.”
However, a red flag was raised when the woman claimed on social media that her children were “the targets of an attempted kidnap,” and included “information that was not disclosed with her original report” to authorities. Now, police are investigating “whether this incident was potentially falsely reported.”
Officials didn’t release the name of the woman who made the report, but Katie Sorensen (above) exposed herself when she publicly made the allegations in an Instagram video, before sharing more details to local news station KTVU. In a viral video shared on her now-deleted IG account, MotherhoodEssentials, the aspiring mommy influencer claimed she was followed by a couple while shopping with her children, alleging that they made comments about her kids before trying to approach them in the parking lot.
Sorensen also claimed the man tried to reach into her stroller before she screamed for help. She later said in her KTVU interview:
“I saw these people, they didn’t look necessarily clean-cut. I felt uncomfortable around them, and instead of making them uncomfortable with my discomfort, I chose to remain in my discomfort.”
Police interviewed Sorensen again after her video went viral — it was viewed over 4 MILLION times before being deleted — and said in a press release on Dec. 17 that 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.”
When cops interviewed the couple in question, however, they were told a different story — one that actually matched up with the evidence they gathered from the investigation. After identifying the couple from images from the store’s security camera, police said the pair “promptly responded, agreed to be interviewed, and have fully cooperated with the investigation,” adding in a statement:
“While acknowledging they had shopped at Michael’s and were the couple shown in the photograph, they denied the allegations being made against them by the reporting party… To date, the investigation has produced no evidence or witnesses corroborating the account provided by the reporting party. Evidence gathered has served to support the account provided by the couple from the store.”
Police noted that the kidnapping investigation “is now considered closed, absent any additional evidence or corroborating statements from witnesses,” but confirmed the investigation into a potential false police report “remains active and ongoing.”
For their part, the accused couple have chosen to identify themselves and publicly address Sorensen’s allegations. In a press conference, Sadie Martinez said she was at Michael’s with her husband Eddie shopping for Christmas decorations at the time, adding:
“I couldn’t believe it. It’s like we’re literally guilty of being brown while shopping.”
Sadie’s daughter, Esaia Gonzalez, told BuzzFeed that both her mother and stepfather are of Latino descent and she questioned if Sorensen “sincerely misconstrued this ‘brown’ couple innocently shopping at a craft store and discussing their own grandchildren as an activity that was somehow threatening to her family.”
It’s not clear if authorities will be pursuing charges against the mommy vlogger, but Petaluma Police Department Chief Ken Savano said in a statement on Dec. 18:
“If evidence of a racially-motivated hate crime is found to have occurred we will seek prosecution to the fullest extent under the law. Additionally, we will also seek prosecution to the fullest extent of law, if, at any time during our investigation, we find evidence of a person knowingly and intentionally making a false report of a crime.”
Do U think an aspiring influencer would file a false police report just to get more followers?
[Image via KTVU]