NewsNational NewsScripps News


Influencer convicted, falsely accused couple of attempted abduction

A Latino couple believes the influencer who produced a viral video about the now-debunked kidnapping attempt made the accusations due to their race.
Influencer convicted, falsely accused couple of attempted abduction
Posted at 2:14 PM, Jul 03, 2023

A social media influencer in Petaluma, California, with 58,000 followers was recently convicted for falsely claiming someone tried to abduct her two young children. 

The Sonoma County District Attorney's Office said Kathleen Sorensen was convicted on a single count of knowingly making a false report of a crime. Prosecutors said she falsely claimed that a couple tried to take her two young children. 

She was sentenced to 90 days in jail, but will be allowed to spend 60 of those days on a work-release program. 

Prosecutors said she went to a Michaels craft store in 2020 and reported to police that a couple tried to kidnap her children from her car. A week later, prosecutors said she published an Instagram video detailing the incident. 

"The Instagram video went viral, and Ms. Sorensen also went on a local news program repeating her account," the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office said. "Officers from the Petaluma Police Department followed up with Ms. Sorensen. During that interview, Ms. Sorensen identified a Petaluma couple from Michaels' store video as being the perpetrators. Ms. Sorensen’s report was determined to be false and resoundingly contradicted by the accused couple as well as store video that was obtained."

SEE MORE: Celebrities want social media sites to crack down on anti-trans hate

As part of her conviction, she was ordered not to be on social media for an entire year. 

The woman accused by Sorensen of attempted kidnapping told reporters that she believes Sorensen's intentions were racially motivated.

"I couldn't believe it. It's like we're literally guilty of being brown while shopping," Sadie Martinez said, according to the Petaluma Argus-Courier. 

The outlet reported the video was seen by 4.5 million viewers.

"Ms. Sorensen has been held accountable for her crime and we believe the Judge handed down a fair sentence," said District Attorney Carla Rodriguez. "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."

Sorensen's Instagram page is now private.

Trending stories at