An aspiring California social media influencer who drew millions of views for an Instagram video claiming a Latino couple tried to kidnap her two young children has now been charged with making false statements to police in the case.
Katie Sorensen faces two misdemeanor charges, Sonoma County prosecutors said Thursday, according to the Petaluma Argus-Courier.
Sorensen posted the now deleted video on December 13, recounting in detail the story of how a couple she described as unkempt followed her through a Michael’s arts and crafts store in Petaluma a week earlier before trying to grab her stroller when she headed for her car, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
“My children were the target of attempted kidnap,” Sorensen said on the video. “Which is such a weird thing to even vocalize, but it happened and I want to share that story with you.”
Shortly after the video was posted, Petaluma police announced an investigation. Days later, police cleared the couple, identified as Sadie and Eddie Martinez, of any wrongdoing, and security footage showed the couple buying products at the store, despite Sorensen’s claim that they didn’t.
“To date, the investigation has produced no evidence or witnesses corroborating the account provided by the reporting party [Sorensen]. Evidence gathered has served to support the account provided by the couple from the store,” Petaluma police said in a statement released at the time.
The Martinezes, it turned out, were at the store to buy a nativity set for their Christmas decorations.
“We’re very happy with the news,” Sadie Martinez told the Argus-Courier a few hours after learning of the charges. “It’s a nice step toward justice. It gives you hope.”
The Martinezes, longtime residents of Petaluma and parents to five children of their own, reeled from the false allegations, which spurred Sadie Martinez into activism. She became more vocal on social media and spoke at protests. Earlier this year, Petaluma Mayor Teresa Barrett appointed her to the city’s citizen advisory panel on policing and race relations.
“It was a good day today, not just for us,” she said. “It gives everyone a little bit of help. Things like this do happen, and we wondered for a while if she would ever face charges.”
Sonoma County Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Staebell said Sorensen has been notified of the charges and is scheduled for arraignment on May 13.
Sorensen did not respond to messages left for her by the Argus-Courier, nor did her attorney.
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[Feature Photo via Instagram]