Mom Influencer Charged After Allegedly Fabricating Story that Latino Couple Tried to Kidnap Kids
Police say Katie Sorensen outlined the false allegations in two Instagram posts.
Criminal charges have been filed against a California mother and social media influencer who allegedly falsely accused a Latino couple of trying to kidnap her children.
PEOPLE confirms Katie Sorensen, whose age was not released, was charged Thursday with providing false information to police and giving false information to a police dispatcher.
The charges come four months after Sorensen accused a Petaluma couple of attempting to kidnap her two children, according to the Sonoma County Prosecutor's Office.
She told police the failed abduction took place outside a craft store on Dec. 7, 2020.
Afterwards, Sorensen outlined the allegations in two Instagram videos that went viral, getting millions of views. Those posts and her entire Instagram account have since been deleted.
According to police, Sorensen reported what she described as suspicious behavior from a man and woman toward her children in the parking lot of a local Michael's on Dec. 7.
At the time, she told authorities the couple "made comments concerning the children's appearance," and "followed her out to her car, loitered suspiciously, and then left when noticed by another individual nearby," according to a police press release issued at that time.
Surveillance footage stills of the couple were even released to the media.
But days later, the Petaluma Police Department announced that they were investigating "whether this incident was potentially falsely reported" by Sorensen, saying she released on social media "information that was not disclosed with her original report" to authorities.
Sadie and Eddie Martinez, the parents of five accused by Sorensen of attempted kidnapping, spoke to The Argus-Courier of Petaluma about the charges against her.
"We're very happy with the news," Sadie told the paper. "It's a nice step toward justice. It gives you hope."
Sadie said she learned of the false allegations after her daughter saw the couple pictured on the news.
PEOPLE was unable to reach Sorensen for comment. Her attorney, Charles Dresow, would not discuss the case when reached Monday.
Sorensen will be arraigned on May 13, the prosecutor's office confirms.
If convicted, Sorensen faces a maximum penalty of 12 months behind bars.
This story originally appeared on people.com