Petaluma Mother Found Guilty of Filing False Report in Bogus Kidnapping Claim

NBC 5 News

A Petaluma woman was found guilty Wednesday of making a false crime report after she falsely claimed that a couple tried to kidnap her and her children from a store in 2020, the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office announced.  

Kathleen "Katie" Sorensen, 31, posted an Instagram post in December 2020 that went viral, accusing a Petaluma couple of trying to kidnap her and her children from a local Michaels craft store. 

She was found guilty of making a false report to a detective and faces up to six months in jail, prosecutors said.

Sorensen was acquitted of two additional misdemeanors related to giving false information to a dispatcher and false information to a police officer. 

Sorensen was in the Michaels store on Dec. 7, 2020 with her two young children, prosecutors said. 

After purchasing some items, she loaded her items and her children into her car and left the parking lot. According to prosecutors, Sorensen made a call a few minutes later to Petaluma police and reported that a couple had tried to kidnap her and her children.

A week after her report to the police, Sorensen posted a video on Instagram where she went into great detail about the alleged kidnapping attempt, adding information that she had not given police, prosecutors said. 

Her social media post spread widely and she even appeared on local television newscasts describing her alleged ordeal.

"Sorensen's report was determined to be false and was resoundingly contradicted by the accused couple, as well as store video that was obtained," prosecutors said. 

"This verdict will enable us to hold Ms. Sorensen accountable for her crime, while at the same time helping to exonerate the couple that was falsely accused," Sonoma County District Attorney Carla Rodriguez said in a statement about the verdict. "The case is also important in that it illustrates the importance of using social media responsibly."

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