Instagram Influencer Charged After Falsely Accusing Couple of Trying to Kidnap Her Kids

Influencer Katie Sorensen has been charged after she falsely accused a Latino couple of trying to kidnap her children at a Michaels craft store in Petaluma, California last year, in a pair of Instagram videos that went viral. A spokesperson for the Sonoma County District Attorney's office told E! News that Sorenson was charged on Thursday, April 29, with two misdemeanors of giving false information to police.

On Dec. 7, Sorensen told police that a couple followed her and her children into the craft store and followed them as she shopped. She also claimed that they "made comments concerning the children’s appearance as they walked behind her; she said they followed her out to her car, loitered suspiciously, and then left when noticed by another individual nearby." One week later, she detailed the alleged incident in videos on her Instagram account, adding more details, including claiming that the man who was following her had lunged toward her stroller and tried to grab it.

The Petaluma Police Department began an investigation into Sorensen's claims, which concluded after no evidence was found to support Sorensen's story. A press release stated that "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." Sadie Vega-Martinez and her husband Eddie Martinez have identified themselves as the two people Sorensen accused, and many people pointed to the incident as an example of racial profiling.

"It was a good day today, not just for us," Vega-Martinez told The Argus-Courier of learning of the charges. "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." Vega-Martinez shared that she initially learned of the allegations after police released security camera stills of the Martinezes and her daughter saw them on the news. "My kid came to me and showed me the picture, and said, 'Mom, this looks like you,'" she previously recalled.

Sorensen was charged with giving false information to a police officer and giving false information to a police dispatcher. Sonoma County Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Staebell stated that the charges each come with a maximum penalty of six months in jail. Staebell said Sorensen has already been notified of the charges, with arraignment scheduled for 8:30 a.m. May 13.