A wannabe mom influencer reported to police that a Latino couple followed her around a Michael’s craft store, making comments about her young children, and even tried to grab her stroller. The Petaluma Police Department continues to investigate, but so far have found no evidence to support the woman’s claims. They have, however, found evidence to support the accused couple’s innocence.
“My children were the targets of attempted kidnap,” the California woman claimed on Instagram in a post that now has more than 2 million views. “I want to share that story with you in an effort to raise awareness.”
Fox News reported that Katie Sorensen, who is white, accused Sadie and Eddie Martinez of trying to kidnap her children from the craft store. Sorensen regularly posts on social media about her kids, and her allegations ended up pushing her number of followers on Instagram from 6,000 to more than 80,000.
“Police said she reported that she was followed by a couple as she pushed her children in a stroller through a parking lot outside the store,” Fox reported. “She said the pair made comments about the appearance of the children and lingered near her vehicle as she placed them inside. At the time, Sorensen said she didn’t want anyone arrested, but instead wanted to draw attention to the couple’s behavior, police said.”
Sorensen posted a video on social media a week after the alleged incident where she “included information that had not been initially presented” to police, the PPD said.
Sorensen spoke to KTVU-TV about the alleged incident.
“I saw these people, they didn’t look necessarily clean-cut,” she told the outlet. “I felt uncomfortable around them, and instead of making them uncomfortable with my discomfort, I chose to remain in my discomfort.”
She claimed the man had looked at her when she was outside the store, and that he and his wife followed her around the store and were describing her children to someone while on the phone.
“I heard them talking about the features of my children, but I was totally paralyzed with fear,” Sorensen told the outlet. “I just couldn’t bring myself to say anything.”
She claimed the couple followed her around the store and stood behind her in line even though they didn’t buy anything, and then followed her through the parking lot to her SUV. She said there was a white van parked next to her vehicle, which was far from the store. She claimed the couple took a few steps toward her but then stepped back, saying the only explanation for this was that they “were just building the courage” for the kidnapping.
Sorensen claimed the man reached for the stroller, but an older man was nearby, “saw what was going on, and I just yelled for help.”
She then said the couple drove off in a car but another person came up behind her, possibly getting out of that white van.
The couple saw their picture on the news and reached out to authorities to deny Sorensen’s claims, Fox reported. The couple said they had gone to the craft store to buy Nativity scene decorations. They have “fully cooperated” with police, the PPD said.
“To date, the investigation has produced no evidence or witnesses corroborating the account provided by the reporting party,” police said in a press release. “Evidence gathered has served to support the account provided by the couple from the store.”
Sadie and Eddie Martinez spoke to reporters about the incident after speaking to police, suggesting Sorensen made the claims due to racism.
“I couldn’t believe it. It’s like we’re literally guilty of being brown while shopping,” Sadie said. “One of my kids wanted to go there to buy stuff to make hot chocolate balls and I just don’t feel comfortable. I feel like I have a target on my back, now that our image is out on the internet. Who’s to say some crazy person is not gonna come for us?”
Police cleared the couple on Thursday, saying Sorensen’s story contained “inconsistencies,” such as her claim the couple didn’t buy anything even though surveillance footage shows that to be false.
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