Santa Rosa, Calif. — An Instagram social influencer who reported an attempted kidnapping of her young children has been convicted of making a false report of a crime,.
Katie Sorenson, a former Sonoma, Calif. resident, was immediately remanded into custody on the misdemeanor conviction and bail was set at $100,000, said the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office in a press statement. She faces up to six months in jail.
The 31-year-old Sorenson posted viral Instagram videos in December 2020 claiming a couple tried to kidnap her two children at Michael’s store in Petaluma. The videos were posted about a week after Sorenson had reported the supposed kidnapping attempt to police. In the videos, Sorenson described a number of details about the alleged incident that hadn’t been disclosed to police, the DA’s office said.
Sorensen later went on a local news program to repeat her account of the purported event, identifying a Petaluma couple seen in the Michael’s store surveillance video as the perpetrators.
Before the accusation, Sorenson had enjoyed a modest following on her @motherhoodessentials Instagram account while also posting conspiracy theories espoused by QAnon followers of Democrats and Hollywood elites running child sex-trafficking rings.
Her videos on the alleged kidnapping attempt were viewed more than four million times and gained her tens of thousands of new followers. They’ve since been deleted.
The DA’s office said Sorensen’s report was determined to be false and was resoundingly contradicted by the accused couple as well as the surveillance video from the store.
“This verdict will enable us to hold Ms. Sorensen accountable for her crime, while at the same time helping to exonerate the couple that was falsely accused of having attempted to kidnap two young children,” said District Attorney Carla Rodriguez said in a press statement. “The case is also important in that it illustrates the importance of using social media responsibly.”
Sorensen had been charged with three misdemeanor counts of making a false report of a crime: one to a police dispatcher, another to a police officer on Dec. 7, 2020, and a third a week later to a police detective. She was acquitted on the first two counts and convicted of the third for statements made to the detective.
Sadie Vega-Martinez, who was falsely accused by Sorenson along with her husband Eddie Martinez, told Elle magazine she was “happy” with the verdict.
“After [Sorensen] avoided accountability for years, and then hearing she was found guilty and walked out in handcuffs … yes, justice was served,” she said. “I feel like it’s a step in the right direction for my family. I’m grateful for the support.”
In a statement to The Press-Democrat, Sorenson’s attorney, Charles Dresow said, “The verdict of not guilty as to counts one and two rejects the theory that my client lied to the police on Dec. 7. The jury reviewed the actual evidence and found it to be very different than how the case has been portrayed outside the courtroom. We are disappointed as to count three and will evaluate our options moving forward.”
Sorensen showed no emotion as the verdict was read while family members in the courtroom began sobbing, The Press-Democrat reported. She was quickly placed in handcuffs and led from the courtroom, the report said. She is being held in the Sonoma County Jail.
A sentencing date wasn’t set.