SANTA ROSA (CBS SF/BCN) — The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office announced charges last week against Instagram influencer Katie Sorensen, who accused a couple of trying to kidnap her children in the parking lot of a Michael’s craft store in Petaluma last December.
Sorenson, a Sonoma resident who operated the Instagram account @motherhoodessentials, was charged Thursday with two misdemeanor counts of knowingly giving a false report of a crime to law enforcement.READ MORE: San Jose Unified Schools Set to Reopen for Full In-Class Learning
Sorensen alleged in multiple Instagram posts that a Latinx man and woman followed her into the store in the Redwood Gateway Shopping Center on Dec. 7.
Sorensen, who told the police she was pushing her two young children in a stroller at the time, said the couple then followed her to her car, loitered nearby and left when another person noticed them.
However, in a subsequent Instagram post on the @motherhoodessentials account, Sorensen alleged that the man had approached her and attempted to grab the stroller. The account, where she had amassed 80,000 followers, according to BuzzFeed News, posted two Instagram videos about the alleged incident, which gained 4.5 million views, according to Petaluma 360.
Using in-store video from the store, officers identified the couple and said they cooperated fully with an investigation into Sorensen’s claims.READ MORE: NBA Draft: Warriors Take G League Forward Kuminga, Arkansas Guard Moody in First Round
Police found no evidence via interviews or the in-store cameras that either member of the couple had attempted to kidnap Sorensen’s children.
Sadie Vega-Martinez and her husband Eddie Martinez identified themselves as the two people Sorensen accused. In an interview Monday with CBS News, Vega-Martinez said that when the police first inquired about the alleged kidnapping attempt, she and her husband found it funny. “Because we have five children of our own, the thought of being accused of something so ridiculous was comical,” she said.
Vega-Martinez said when reality set in, it was “heartbreaking” and made them “angry.” However, she was not worried she and her husband would be found guilty. “I felt that nothing had happened that day, and there’d be enough digital documentation or proof to justify everything that we said,” she told CBS News.
Sorensen is scheduled to be arraigned May 13 at 8:30 a.m., according to the district attorney’s office.MORE NEWS: San Francisco Jewish Community Gathers to Take Stand Against Recent Anti-Semitic Incidents