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A California Influencer Claimed a Couple Tried to Kidnap Her Kids at a Michael’s Craft Store. Now, She’s Banned From Using Social Media.

california influencer who claimed couple tried to kidnap her kids sentenced
Source: GoFundMe; Unsplash

Jul. 6 2023, Published 4:08 p.m. ET

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A California “momfluencer” has been sentenced to three months in jail after falsely accusing a Latino couple of trying to kidnap her children, according to authorities.

On Dec. 7, 2020, Kathleen Sorensen, 30, went to a Michael’s craft store with her two young children, purchased a few items and then went back to her car before driving away, according to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.

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Moments later, she called the Petaluma Police Department and reported that a couple, who she identified as Sadie and Eddie Martinez, tried to kidnap her children while at the store.

When talking with police, Sorensen said the couple made “comments concerning the children’s appearance as they walked behind her” and they followed her to her car, “loitered suspiciously, and then left when noticed by another individual nearby.”

Sorensen didn’t want the couple arrested at the time and told police she “only wanted to raise awareness of the suspicious behavior.”

A week later, Sorensen created a video on Instagram and included details about the incident she never mentioned to police. The video went viral and Sorensen appeared on local news outlets.

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Sorensen said in the video that the male who followed her around the store and to her car tried to grab her stroller. However, she never shared that detail with police. According to police, that allegation would constitute an attempted child abduction if true.

Video footage was obtained and police interviewed Sorensen again. This time, according to police, Sorensen said 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.”

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Investigators couldn’t find any evidence or witnesses to corroborate Sorensen’s version of the alleged incident and the investigation was closed.

In April 2023, a jury convicted Sorensen of one count of making a false report of a crime.

On June 29, Judge Laura Passaglia sentenced Sorensen to serve 90 days, 60 of which could be served on a work-release program.

Sorensen will also have to serve 12 months of probation, which bans her from using social media, authorities said. In addition, she will have to complete implicit bias training and pay various fines and fees.

In a statement, Sonoma County District Attorney Carla Rodriguez said, "Our hope is that this measure of accountability will help provide some closure to the couple that was falsely accused of having attempted to kidnap two young children."


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