Petaluma Police Shut Down Katie Sorensen’s Viral Kidnapping Story
The police have cleared a Petaluma couple of any wrongdoing after a mother's story accusing them of attempting to kidnap her children went viral on Instagram. Blogger Katie Sorensen, who went by @motherhoodessentials on Instagram, received over two million views on a video claiming she noticed a couple at her local Michael's followed her and her children around the store and overheard them talking about kidnapping her children on the phone, and that they followed her to her car and lunged at her.
The police already cast doubt on the allegations when they said in a now-“deactivated” alert that her account in the viral video did not match up to the December 7 report she made to the police. In a new December 17 release, the police say that after making contact with the accused couple and gathering evidence, there is no evidence to support Sorensen's claims and the case has been closed.
"To date, 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," the new statement reads.
For many who watched Sorensen’s video, this outcome is not surprising. Not only did a number of details from her account not make sense, it was given during a time when unnecessary paranoia about child kidnapping is at a high thanks to QAnon conspiracy theories. The movement’s #SaveTheChildren hashtag promotes debunked accounts of child kidnapping and sex trafficking, including Sorensen’s story.
It seems likely that this heightened paranoia, combined with racial profiling, inspired the unfounded accusation.
"Somewhere in her mind she sincerely misconstrued this 'brown' couple innocently shopping at a craft store and discussing their own grandchildren as activity that was somehow threatening to her family," a family member of the accused couple, who are of Latino descent, told BuzzFeed News.
Sorensen has since deactivated her Instagram account.