‘Mom influencer’ investigated for making kidnap claims against Latino couple

‘I couldn’t believe it. It’s like we’re literally guilty of being brown while shopping,’ Sadie Martinez said

Louise Hall
Wednesday 23 December 2020 22:17 GMT
Woman told officers that a couple followed her into a Michaels craft store in Petaluma.
Woman told officers that a couple followed her into a Michaels craft store in Petaluma. (Getty Images)

California police are investigating whether a mother from California falsely reported that a Latino couple had tried to kidnap her two young children.

The woman, who has not been officially identified by police, told officers that a couple followed her into a Michael’s craft store in Petaluma on 7 December, police said in a statement.

The couple, who are Latino, denied the allegations against them during a press conference on Friday and police have said evidence supports the couple's version of events, The Argus-Courier reported.

The woman drove to the Petaluma Police Department “to report suspicious behavior exhibited by two adults” on the same day, police said.  

She said that the couple "made comments concerning the appearance of the children", according to a police department press release.

"The couple was said to have followed the woman to her car, where the couple lingered near the stroller as the woman placed her children in the vehicle," the release said.

Police said that they later discovered the woman had made a social media video regarding the alleged incident providing "significant information" that she had not disclosed in the report.

Authorities have not officially released the name of the woman involved but a number of media outlets have identified her as Katie Sorensen, an aspiring "mom influencer" on social media.

Ms Sorensen has not responded to requests for comment by The Argus-Courier, The Press Democrat or NBC News and her social media pages appear to have been deactivated.

Last week, Ms Sorensen told BuzzFeed News that she “had no intentions or underlying motives for sharing my story, other than to encourage fellow parents to always remain vigilant”.

"I hope my family and our local law enforcement will be given the respect and support we each deserve as we continue on."

Police said that because of the details released in the video officers initially investigated the incident as an attempted child abduction but have since said they cleared the couple after speaking with them, NBC News reported.

"We received information about the identity of the couple and [connected] with them via a private message to their social media,” police said, according to the outlet.

“They promptly responded, agreed to be interviewed, and have fully cooperated with the investigation.

"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."

According to police, the woman initially said that she did not want anyone arrested but was flagging “concerning behavior" exhibited by the couple. 

According to The Argus-Courier the woman later told authorities she would testify to the accusations, and that she wanted to prosecute.

The newspaper identified the couple as Sadie and Eddie Martinez who said they had been shopping for Christmas decorations at the store and believed the allegations were racially motivated.

“I couldn’t believe it. It’s like we’re literally guilty of being brown while shopping,” Sadie Martinez said at a news conference.

“Am I shocked? No. But will we stand for it? Hell no. So today, I stand in front of everybody in a fight to prosecute Katie.”

Police said that the investigation had produced no evidence or witnesses corroborating the account provided by the mother and has in fact served to support the account provided by the couple, NBC News reported.

"Based upon the evidence gathered to date, PPD launched an investigation into whether this incident was potentially falsely reported," police said. "That investigation is active and ongoing."

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