Katie Sorensen: The Influencer Mom Who Cried Kidnap

Well, folks, we’ve all heard of “fake it ’til you make it,” but have you heard of “fake a kidnapping ’til you make headlines?” Today, we’re diving into the bizarre story of Katie Sorensen, the self-proclaimed momfluencer who concocted a kidnapping story that could give Hollywood screenwriters a run for their money. 

I’m not sure there is anything that makes me cringe more than when I hear the term Mom-Influencer. Perhaps, husband wife real estate team. But anyways.

Join me as we explore the motivations, consequences, and impact of this fiasco, and take a closer look at how our insatiable hunger for online fame can turn even the most wholesome content creators into psychopaths ready to leave a trail of dead bodies behind them for clicks. 

Let’s dive into the dark side of social media fame.

Who is Katie, the influencer mom?

Kathleen Sorensen, or “Katie” as she’s known to her adoring fans, started as your run-of-the-mill momfluencer, sharing tips and tricks that could only come from someone who’s been to the parenting battlefield and lived to tell the tale. With a mix of beauty advice, motherhood anecdotes, and an online persona that screamed “I’ve got it all figured out,” she quickly became a micro-influencer on Instagram with a following of devoted subscribers.

In her early days, her content was the epitome of wholesome – family-focused and brimming with mom-approved wisdom. She’d post about her experiences raising her kids, share her thoughts on parenting, and even recommend products that had the Katie seal of approval.

But as time went on and Katie’s life shifted, so did her content. Like a chameleon, she adapted to the ever-changing world of social media, always managing to stay ahead of the curve. Her growing family, changing interests, and an insatiable hunger for fame led her to more and more daring content. And with all media, controversy sells.

So, what happens when an influencer starts to lose her grip on that online fame? Well, in Katie’s case, she decided to concoct a kidnapping story that would make the Kardashians look like amateurs. Her notoriety skyrocketed in December 2020 when she falsely accused a couple of attempting to kidnap her kids.

Talk about going viral for all the wrong reasons.

What happened: the fake kidnapping story

Lets cut to the chase.

The stage? A Michaels craft store, where Katie’s innocent children would become the center of a made-up kidnapping plot. The villains? A Latino couple who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In her now-infamous video, Katie wove a gripping narrative of a couple lurking in the aisles of the craft store, eyeing her children, and whispering descriptions of them to an unknown accomplice on the phone. She claimed they followed her, waited in line despite not buying anything, and even tried to snatch her stroller in the parking lot. 

But the only thing this tale managed to snatch was Katie’s credibility.

With over 4 million views, the video spread like wildfire, but the heat was too much for Katie to handle. Her lies unraveled as the police investigation revealed that the so-called kidnappers, Eddie and Sadie Martinez, were innocent bystanders. 

And just like that, her fairy tale of abduction came crashing down.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: why on Earth would Katie do something like this? Was it a cry for attention? A desperate attempt to boost her brand? Or perhaps an elaborate scheme to fundraise for more DIY projects? 

Well, according to the prosecutors, 31-year-old Katie was trying to boost her Instagram brand at the time and raise money by making the attempted abduction claims in her videos, which turned her from a trusted momfluencer to one the cringiest moms in the mom-influencer space, which is basically as humiliating as it could get.

The accused couple side of the story

But what is the accused couple’s side of the story? Well, it was supposed to be just a normal day for Sadie and Eddie Martinez who went to the store to pick up a nativity scene and decorations for their Christmas display. 

Who knew that day would turn into their nightmare as they found themselves at the epicenter of a media storm, thanks to Katie’s creative storytelling. With a side of racial profiling, this recipe for disaster left the couple feeling like they were “guilty of being brown while shopping.” 

Is there evidence to support their claim of racial motivation? Well, while we can’t definitively say what was going on in Katie’s mind, her accusations echo a troubling trend of white individuals calling the police on people of color for simply existing. From “BBQ Becky” to the woman who falsely claimed she was threatened by a Black bird-watcher in Central Park, it’s clear that this issue is more than just an isolated incident. It’s attack of the Karens! 

Despite the investigation clearing their names, the damage was already done. Sadie and Eddie were thrust into the unforgiving spotlight, with their images plastered across the internet for millions to see. As Sadie put it, “Unfortunately, we have targets on our back because we were labeled this, regardless of what’s true or not.”

And as for the impact on the couple’s lives? The label of “child abductors” will be a stain they’ll have to carry around for the rest of their lives. In Sadie’s words, “I just know that I’ve been racially profiled and then labelled a child abductor.”

The legal consequences for Katie

Thankfully, there’s consequences.

After years of avoiding accountability, Katie was finally put in handcuffs. And what are the charges you may ask? Three misdemeanor counts of giving false information to the police and a detective on three different occasions. 

Following a trial that started in April of 2023, the jury acquitted her of the first two counts but found her guilty only of the third count related to a Dec. 14 interview. And after five hours of deliberations, Katie was taken into custody and held in the Sonoma County Jail. Her bond was set at $100,000, but she posted bail and was released until her sentencing date in June. 

But is that enough to atone for the pain and humiliation she caused the falsely accused family? 

The fallout

Now, let’s take a look at the fallout from Katie’s little kidnapping caper and how it affected her career as a mom influencer.

Once the truth emerged and Sadie and Eddie Martinez were cleared, the tables turned on Katie. The media’s portrayal of her as a liar and a racist had a significant impact on her social media following. People were, understandably, outraged by her false accusations and racial targeting. 

As her story unraveled, so did her online presence, with her social media accounts being deleted or made private in the aftermath. In her defense, she claimed the deletion was to protect her family and the “integrity of the ongoing investigation.”

In conclusion

Katie Sorensen’s trial serves as a stark reminder of what social media is turning us into.

A bunch of zombies clicking and hunting for content to entertain us while we are sitting on the John. This content could be found to be utter bullshit, that tells lies about unsuspecting bystanders, upending their lives all in an effort to drive engagement. What do you care, you’re not involved, it just showed up on your phone.

Twitter now has videos of death, destruction, and kids getting bullied on anonymous feeds showing up on our timelines under the ‘for you’ section – as if we want to see someone’s worst moment caught on film without their consent.

Look, we were always divided on things like religion and politics, but social media works with one single goal in mind. And that’s keeping you staring at your screen. What drives views on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok is engagement.

Katie was so focused on engagement that she never took the time to ask, “what could happen if my lies are proven to be bullshit? Could I get sued? Could I go to jail? What are the consequences to treating this random couple like a pair of sexual predators for my social media clout?”

Let’s get real here. Anyone who has kids, and uses them to drive their social media growth, should be immediately suspect when they make any outrageous claims. Their kids aren’t old enough to agree to be in these videos. Yet they are forced to participate without any independent arbitrator saying, ‘hey, doesn’t that sound like something this toddler may one day grow up and be resentful for?”

So just remember the next time you see one of these social media moms that although they are trying to lure you with a wholesome clean image, they have used their kids as currency to get ahead on tiktok. And right there, you should question anything that comes out of their mouths.

Information for this briefing was found via Reuters, Bloomberg, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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