Andrew Sorensen’s family say: ‘We have confidence that justice will prevail and the entire truth will come out’
The family of a man allegedly killed by his girlfriend’s father for selling her into sex trafficking have insisted he is innocent.
Andrew Sorensen, 19, was found dead in the trunk of a car in Northeast Spokane, Washington, on 22 October. John Eisenman, 60, was arrested for Mr Sorensen’s murder a week later.
Charging documents state Mr Eisenman confessed to killing Mr Sorensen in November 2020 because he believed the teen sold his daughter into a sex ring in Seattle the month prior.
Mr Sorensen’s family refuted that claim in a statement last week.
“Our family is grieving and in shock over the murder of our son,” the statement read. “We spent a year searching for him and hoping he would return.
“Claims by his confessed killer have been very hurtful and only added to our family’s grief. The word ‘alleged’ means of an incident without proof.
“It has already been reported: both the FBI and Washington State Patrol said there is no sex trafficking investigation into the victim.
“We have confidence that justice will prevail and the entire truth will come out. We urge the public to let this process occur and withhold judgment until they hear the true facts of this tragedy.”
The family said they took Mr Sorensen in as a foster child when he was six months old after he was born with cerebral palsy, autism and developmental delays.
“Our family has been especially compassionate and loving towards him for these reasons. He was extra special to us all.”
Speaking to NBC News, Mr Sorensen’s father, Randy Sorensen, said: “He was a disabled kid. He didn’t have the capability to sex traffic anybody.”
His mother, Theresa Sorenson, told the outlet: “We didn’t get to tell our side of the story. There is so much more out there about all of this that needs to come out.”
Mr Sorensen had been missing for a year before his body was discovered in the trunk of a car last month. Police linked Mr Eisenman to the slaying after learning the car was registered to his fiancée, Brenda Kross.
Mr Eisenman was arrested for first-degree murder on 29 October and is being held on $1 million bail.
According to court records, Mr Eisenman told investigators he learned his teenage daughter had been sold to a sex-trafficking ring in the Seattle area for $1,000 in October 2020 and went to “rescue” her.
Soon after, Mr Eisenman said he “obtained information” that his daughter’s boyfriend, Mr Sorensen, was responsible for her sale and tracked him to a trailer park in Airway Heights, Washington, in November 2020.
There, police said, Mr Eisenman “abducted” Mr Sorensen by tying him up and placing him in the trunk of a Honda Accord. He then allegedly killed Mr Sorensen by striking him on the head with a cinder block and stabbing him repeatedly.
After the killing, Mr Eisenman ditched the car in North Spokane County, police said. It remained there until last month, when it was driven to a residential neighbourhood of Northeast Spokane by an unidentified third party who is not believed to have known there was a body in the trunk.
The purported revenge killing sent shockwaves around the country, with many social media users arguing that Mr Eisenman was justified in his alleged actions despite a lack of evidence to support his claims against Mr Sorensen.
Ms Kross, the defendant’s fiancée, defended him earlier this month, calling him “the best father I could have ever had for my children”.
“John … It was something that a lot of men say they would do for their daughter,” Ms Kross told KHQ of Mr Eisenman’s alleged killing.
“I’m very proud of John and I’m blessed to have had him in my life and I want him back home.”
Echoing the statement from Mr Sorensen’s family the Washington State Patrol (WSP) said it is “not involved with any investigation involving Mr Sorensen”.
“His name was on our missing persons listing at some point but that does not equate to an investigation,” agency spokesman Chris Loftis told NBC News.
“An investigation of that type would likely be conducted by local authorities, not WSP. We have had no investigation of him related to sex trafficking.”
The FBI refused to comment on “the existence or the nonexistence of any investigation”.
And the Spokane Police Department has said the sex trafficking allegations have come solely from Mr Eisenman. “We can’t corroborate the veracity of any of those statements,” Cpl. Nick Briggs told The Spokesman-Review.
Police records show Mr Sorensen did have prior brushes with law enforcement, albeit not for anything related to sex trafficking.
In July 2020, Mr Sorensen pleaded not guilty to charges of fourth-degree assault, marijuana possession and intent to sell marijuana from the Spokane County Sheriff’s office.
In 2019, records show a woman filed for a temporary order of protection against Sorensen, but it was denied by the court.
Mr Eisenman’s daughter, who reportedly lives in California but has not been named publicly, has not spoken on the case.