Pages

Thursday, 17 December 2020

California mother of three denies faking story that her kids were targets of 'attempted kidnap' for viral Instagram videos - as cops say her report had 'inconsistencies'

 A California mother of three who claimed in viral social media videos that a couple made a kidnapping attempt on her children last week has hit back at skepticism over her allegations.

Katie Sorensen posted two videos to her account @motherhoodessentials in which she detailed how her four-year-old son and one-year-old daughter were allegedly 'the targets of attempted kidnap' in a Michael's store in Petaluma on December 7.


Sorensen immediately drove to the police station to report the couple's actions yet has now been forced to answer to critics after a press release from the cops noted inconsistencies between her Instagram story and statement to them.

The influencer had gained tens of thousands of followers to her account after posting the videos, which were viewed more than two million rimes. 

'I had no intentions or underlying motives for sharing my story, other than to encourage fellow parents to always remain vigilant,' she told Buzzfeed.

'I hope my family and our local law enforcement will be given the respect and support we each deserve as we continue on.'


Mother of three Katie Sorensen has hit back at the skeptics who criticized her claims of an alleged kidnapping attempt on two of her children outside a Michael's store in California on December 7. It came after police noted inconsistencies in the story she gave them

Mother of three Katie Sorensen has hit back at the skeptics who criticized her claims of an alleged kidnapping attempt on two of her children outside a Michael's store in California on December 7. It came after police noted inconsistencies in the story she gave them

Mother says a strangers tried to kidnap her kids
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
0:00
Previous
Play
Skip
Mute
Current Time0:00
/
Duration Time2:17
Fullscreen
Need Text

Petaluma Police Department released an update on Monday in which they said they had been made aware of Sorensen's social media post and that it had included information she had not told officers in her initial report on December 7.

'At the time this incident was initially reported, there was insufficient evidence to establish that a crime had occurred,' the statement said.

'Petaluma Police Department officers and detectives have subsequently conducted follow-up; inconsistencies between the two accounts of the incident need to be resolved before criminal charges can be considered.'

The details of the inconsistencies have not been revealed.

Police also released a picture of a couple they named as persons of interest in the case, stating they wish to speak to them further about what happened.

The statement said that they had been unable to find the couple at the scene after Sorenson's first report was made.

The police department noted that while they said there were inconsistencies in Sorensen's story, they were not claiming that she had fabricated the incident and would continue to investigate further to establish what happened.

'We're not saying she was fabricating the story,' Petaluma Police Sgt. Ed Crosby told DailyMail.com 'Inconsistencies are not uncommon.'

'At the same time, the people in the pictures were named as persons of interest for a specific reason. Just as we can't accuse the reporting party of lying without proof, we're not prepared to call them suspects without evidence.'

Police wish to speak to these two persons of interest as part of the investigation

Police wish to speak to these two persons of interest as part of the investigation

'Clearly something happened,' Crosby added, stating that police are eager to talk to the couple in the picture.

'There is still an active investigation to determine what happened and whether that meets the threshold for a criminal case.

'Courts decided, not the court of public opinion,' he continued.

'I would encourage people to reserve judgment and reserve judgment all around to allow the investigation to proceed. If there is a basis for criminal charges, we will be making that known, but we're not there yet and it remains to be seen if we will get to that.

'But we are not questioning the credibility of anyone,' Crosby concluded. 

Sorenson made her Instagram account private on Monday after gaining more than 70,000 new followers since she posted the videos over the weekend.

Katie Sorensen made the videos from her car over the weekend

Katie Sorensen made the videos from her car over the weekend

The influencer has it back at criticism. She is pictured here with one of her sons
Katie Sorenson and her son

The influencer has it back at criticism. She is pictured here with one of her sons

She told Buzzfeed that she is still in communication with the police department and is thankful that her report is being taken seriously.

She added that the videos were made private so the investigation could continue and that some things could be 'taken out of context'.

'As with any ongoing investigation, there are pieces of information that are not shared in a post. And as with anything on social media, words will be used out of context, criticized, and questioned,' she said.

'I do not wish to jeopardize the work of the local police department, nor do I wish to further any conversations that are fueled by negativity and judgement.'

In her initial videos, Sorenson sat in her car as she relayed the story of the alleged attempted kidnapping.

'Of this week, my children were the targets of attempted kidnap which is such a weird thing to even vocalize but it happened and I want to share that story with you in an effort to raise awareness to what signs to look for and to encourage parents to be more aware of their surroundings and what is going on around them,' she began.

'I think right now that we are so distracted with everything that's going on in the world that we are have our guard up so much about masks and wanting to keep out children safe that way that we're forgetting the most important way to keep them safe and that is with us.

'I'm going to share a story in an effort to raise that awareness but I’m not ready, this is hard for me. I'm not ready to share this story but I know it's important and I would rather be uncomfortable and awkward and get the message out sooner than wait until I feel composed because I don't know if I'll ever feel composed talking about this,' Sorenson continued.

The alleged incident took place in the parking lot of this Michael's in Petaluma

The alleged incident took place in the parking lot of this Michael's in Petaluma

She said that she had parked her car far away from the store as she always does on December 7 so as not to frustrate other customers when she is taking her double stroller in and out but that she would not be continuing to do this after the alleged incident.

'That is the first thing that I will be doing differently if I ever choose to take my kids out again,' she said.

According to the police statement, Sorenson said that she noted the suspicious behavior of a man and woman as they followed her and her children around the store and made comments about their appearance.

She told police that they followed her out to her car and lingered by the stroller as she placed her kids back inside the vehicle.

Police said Sorenson had not wanted to have anyone arrested when she filed the report but 'wanted to draw attention to the concerning behavior exhibited by the couple'.

In an interview with KTVU after she posted the videos, however, Sorenson relayed further details of the couple's alleged behavior.

'I heard them talking about the features of my children, but I was totally paralyzed with fear, I just couldn’t bring myself to say anything,' she said. 

She claimed that she had spotted the man looking at her in the parking lot before she went inside and that the couple had stood behind her in the checkout but then followed her outside without buying anything.


She noted that when she reached her car, a white van was parked alongside her, which she thought was strange given how far from the store she was.

Sorenson also claimed that the couple took two steps forward and then two steps back as the watched her load her children into the car.

'Very awkward. There is no other explanation to why they would do that other than they were building up the courage' she alleged.

Sorenson told the station that the man had reached out and grabbed the stroller but that another man walked past at the time and she began to scream for help.

She claimed the couple fled the scene in a car, but a third man emerged quickly from the white van. She said he acted like he was trying to help her before fleeing himself.

'I saw these people, they didn't look necessarily clean cut,' Sorenson told KTVU.

'I felt uncomfortable around them, and instead of making them uncomfortable with my discomfort, I chose to remain in my discomfort.'

Sorenson told Buzzfeed that she felt very overwhelmed to the reaction to the videos. 

She said that she wanted those sending her negative comments to note that she was 'faced with a traumatic experience, it is impossible to function at full capacity'.

The case caught the attention of child safety advocate Marc Klaas, whose daughter Polly was kidnapped in Petaluma and killed in 1993.

'This mom learned a very important lesson,' he said. 'What she learned is that she does have to trust her feelings, that she does need to be at the ready and she does need some kind of a plan of action.'

Police say that Michael's Crafts is cooperating with the investigation and that they have several leads they are following up on.

No comments:

Post a comment