The decade's most triggering comedy
“Katie is innocent. In fact, she was found innocent of 2 of the 3 charges."
A mother whose daughter was sentenced to 30 days in jail for falsely accusing a Hispanic couple of trying to abduct her young children says her daughter never lied to police.
Jill Turgeon, whose daughter Kathleen “Katie” Sorensen, 31, was sentenced in July to 30 days in jail with an additional 60 days to be served on a work-release program, has been trying to prove that her daughter is innocent of the crimes of which she was convicted.
“Katie is innocent. In fact, she was found innocent of 2 of the 3 charges. The charge of which she was found guilty was only related to a single detail of her report. One detail,” Turgeon told The Daily Wire in an email. She added that the accused Hispanic male’s testimony backed up what Sorensen saw that day, although it appears Sorensen misinterpreted what was happening.
Sorensen went viral on social media in December 2020 when she accused a Latino couple of following her around a Michael’s craft store and attempting to kidnap her children. The accused couple, Eduardo and Sadie Martinez, insisted at the time of Sorenson’s allegations that race played a role.
Sorensen reportedly told police the couple followed her as she pushed her children in a stroller in the parking lot heading toward her car. She said the couple made comments about her children’s appearances and stood near her vehicle as she put her children inside.
Sorensen posted a video on social media a week after the alleged incident where she “included information that had not been initially presented” to police, the Petaluma Police Department said.
She claimed the man had looked at her when she was outside the store and that he and his wife followed her around the store and described her children to someone while on the phone.
“I heard them talking about the features of my children, but I was totally paralyzed with fear,” Sorensen told KTVU-TV at the time of the incident. “I just couldn’t bring myself to say anything.”
She claimed the couple followed her around the store and stood behind her in line even though they didn’t buy anything, and then followed her through the parking lot to her SUV. She said a white van was parked next to her vehicle, which was far from the store. She claimed the couple took a few steps toward her but then stepped back, saying the only explanation for this was that they “were just building the courage” for the kidnapping.
Sorensen claimed the man reached for the stroller, but an older man was nearby, who “saw what was going on, and I just yelled for help.”
She then said the couple drove off in a car, but another person came up behind her, possibly getting out of that white van.
The Martinez family said they went to Michael’s to buy decorations for a Nativity scene and “fully cooperated” with police.
In an Instagram post, Turgeon, Sorensen’s mother, shows three surveillance footage clips from the Michael’s craft store that were presented as evidence at Sorensen’s trial. While none of the clips show an attempted kidnapping, they do show the couple moving in the way Sorensen described, which from her perspective may have looked devious when it reality it was not.
In the first clip, Sorensen is seen getting in line to checkout when the couple comes up behind her to also wait for a self-checkout lane to open. Eduardo, the husband, steps away from the line, possibly to go look at something else in the store, before returning to his wife. From Sorensen’s perspective, this was him moving around behind her and her stroller. She also reported that during this time she heard the couple talking about her children, describing their facial features. The couple said they were talking about some dolls. It could have been an innocent conversation that Sorensen misinterpreted.
In the next clip, Sorensen is seen checking out on one machine while the couple is checking out on the machine behind her. Sorensen saw Eduardo turn around to look at her and her children a couple times. He did turn around a couple times, but there’s no indication this had any ill-intent. At one point, Eduardo puts some case on the counter and continues to stand near his wife. After Sorensen pays for her items and leaves, Eduardo can be seen walking out behind her.
Eduardo reportedly testified that he always pays and then leaves his wife in the store. As Turgeon pointed out, Eduardo didn’t leave right away, but waited until Sorensen left. This is why Sorensen described him as “following” her out of the store. Surveillance footage showing them walking out of the store was not shown in court, Turgeon said. She questioned why that wouldn’t be shown when footage of her daughter and the couple entering the store was shown to a jury.
A grainy video from the parking lot then showed Sorensen at her vehicle, and the couple walking toward her SUV. The couple comes close, and then walks away, and then returns again. During this time, Sorensen said Eduardo made a motion like he was trying to grab one of her children. During the trial, Eduardo reportedly testified that he and his wife did walk near Sorensen’s car, but it was to see if a nearby restaurant was open and to decide where to eat. When they returned to the area near her car, Eduardo said he made a motion with his arm to indicate he was disappointed that the restaurant was closed. It was this motion that Sorensen wrongly interpreted as a kidnapping attempt.
In an initial interview between a police officer and the Martinezes, reviewed by The Daily Wire, it is clear that Sorensen’s story is doubted from the beginning and that police were actively looking to charge Sorensen. The law enforcement officer questioning the Martinezes even brings up the QAnon conspiracy theory that a cabal of pedophiles is operating in the U.S. – to which they respond that they don’t know anything about Sorensen. As Turgeon told The Daily Wire, neither she or her daughter “even understood fully what QAnon was.”
The police officer repeatedly mentions charging Sorensen with filing a false report and even references a “Karen” – a white woman who calls police on a black man. At one point, the Martinezes lawyer brings up the race issues, saying “you have two Latinx people accused by a white woman.”
Turgeon told The Daily Wire that her daughter’s initial report to police mentioned a “Caucasian” woman and a “possibly Hispanic” man. Sorensen didn’t publicly mentioned the couple’s race when recounting her story.
At the end of the interview, the police officer closes the investigation into Sorensen’s claims and opens a new case to charge Sorensen with lying, even though video showed that, while Sorensen was wrong about the couple’s intent, the specific actions she reported did, in fact, occur.
The reason the story blew up as it did was due to Sorensen telling her account on social media, which led to an interview with a local news station. When the accused couple turned out to be Latino, a racial narrative was born.