Police in California are investigating whether a woman made a false report when she told officers that a couple tried to kidnap their two young children in the parking lot of Petalama’s Michaels Craft store.
The police department said an investigation into the December 7 incident found evidence supporting the couple’s version of events.
During a press conference on Friday, according to Argus-Courier, the couple, who are Latino, denied the charges against them.
Police said a woman told officers that a couple followed her to Michaels shortly before 10:30 a.m. and placed her in a shop with her children as a stroller.
She said that according to a police department press release, the couple “commented on the presence of children”.
It states that the couple followed the woman to her car, where the couple approached the stroller as the woman placed her children in the vehicle. He rode in his car and drove away after interference from someone nearby.
The release did not name the woman who made the report, but several outlets identified her as Katie Sorensen on social media as “mom influenced”.
The numbers listed for the Petalama Police Department and Sorrenson were not immediately returned on Tuesday.
A week after the incident was reported, police said it was revealed that the woman had made a social media video about everything that happened and included “important information” that she did not share with authorities Was.
The video has since been removed from her account, but was posted online.
In it, Sorrenson stated that his two children were targets of the kidnapping attempt and that he “felt the need to obtain this information.”
Then he told how he saw a man near his car behind Michaels parking. Sorenson, who is sitting in his car when he filmed the video, said the man walked towards him as he was putting his children in a double-stroller, “seeming for a while” and then back Sits in his car.
She said that she continued to put her son and daughter in a stroller and went to the store. He said that the man, now with a woman, was following him.
“I definitely felt the Hebbie-GBies,” Sorensen said. I did not like it, but I felt that I was rating a book by its cover. He was not kind, which sounds bad, but he was not a clean person. “
Sorrenson said she kept shopping and tried to ignore the couple, as they were behind her and commented about what their children were watching. At one point in the video, she stated that she was standing in the checkout line and heard a phone call to the man and said “the boy will go easy because he hasn’t worn a mask, so mom shouldn’t really care about him too much” . “
“I can’t tell you why I didn’t say anything right then.” “I was paralyzed out of fear. And I almost just stigmatized what’s going on, like I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that it was actually happening and so I just, in that way, I ignored it. “
Sorensen said that after paying for her belongings, she grabbed her car and phoned her husband to tell him someone was following her. She said that as she approached her vehicle, she saw a white van parked near her car and “my stomach just sank.”
“I think I’m too afraid to change the direction I’m going.” “I was nervous and had no idea what I was doing so I walked straight from my car and got ready to load my babies as fast as possible.”
Sorrenson said the couple walked towards their car and it appeared that the man was holding something in his hand.
“He took two steps forward towards the stroller, then two steps back. Then two steps forward, then two steps back. It did not make any sense. It was clear what they were doing and it was the last time he reached for a stroller, ”she said.
Sorrenson said he shouted to someone nearby for help and the couple sat in their car and exited. He said that another person approached him from behind and he said, “He plays like this, like you need help with something.” The man then climbed into the van and left, he said in the video.
Police said that because of the details Sorrenson shared in his video, officers initially investigated the incident as a child abductor. The department released a photo of the couple taken from the store’s surveillance camera and sought public help to identify them.
Petalama police later removed the couple after speaking with them.
“We got information about the couple’s identity and [connected] With him through a private message on his social media. He immediately responded, agreed to the interview, and fully cooperated in the investigation, “police said.” Admitting that they had shopped at Michael and the couple shown in the photo, he denied the allegations being leveled against him by the reporting party. . “
Police said, “To date, the investigation has not presented any evidence or witnesses attesting the account provided by the reporting party. Evidence was gathered to support the account provided by the couple.”
Police said, “Based on the evidence, the PPD launched an investigation into whether the incident was potentially false.” “That investigation is active and on.”
Argus-Courier identified the couple as Sadie and Eddie Martinez. They said they were in Michaels to buy Christmas decorations and believe Sorensen’s allegations were racially motivated.
“I couldn’t believe it. It seems that we are guilty of being really brown while shopping, ”Sadie Martinez said at a news conference.
“I don’t know if anyone’s been paying attention for the last four years, but there’s a lot of racism going on and right, Katie’s following suit,” she continued. “Am I shocked?” No, but shall we stand for it? no at all. So today, I stand in front of everyone in the fight to prosecute Katie. “
The Petalama Police Department has not said whether they plan possible charges against Sorensen. Chief Ken Savano said in a statement on Friday that “any type of hate crimes will not be tolerated” and he will seek full prosecution “if evidence of a racially-motivated hate crime is found.”
“In addition, we will also seek prosecution to the fullest extent of the law, if at any time, during our investigation, we find evidence to intentionally and knowingly make a false report of a crime,” he said.