LAKEVIEW, Mich. — The daughters of Marilyn Sorsen are struggling to find ways to free their mother from cocaine charges in South America. They said she was the victim of a scam and are now working to clear her name.
“It’s like a horror story,” said Telesa Collar, her daughter. “It doesn’t feel like reality.”
Sorsen has been in jail for months. She has missed her daughter Shawn Stine’s wedding and her sister’s funeral.
Her family wants to warn others of this scam and they are at a loss of what to do next to bring their mom home to West Michigan.
Sorsen has spent her entire life in Lakeview and has always been a generous person, say her daughters.
Her generous nature is what got her on a plane to Ecuador back in June. ”It was all a big scam,” said Collar. “They sent her the plane tickets.”
It started with a Facebook conversation between Sorsen and a man claiming to have fallen in love with her. ”We had no idea about this guy named Peter,” Collar said.
During months of online chats, Sorsen was convinced she was going to help the man of her dreams get $10 million.
“He needed a wife to sign documentation so that he could get an inheritance, a huge inheritance,” said Collar. So she she boarded a plane to Ecuador, and in a whirlwind was put in a taxi with strangers who had a plan. They told her to put her laptop in a briefcase and put her on a plane to Amsterdam. “And that’s where she got busted,” said Collar. The briefcase was lined with cocaine.
Sorsen was arrested and charged with cocaine trafficking. ”They call her a mule because she had no idea,” said her other daughter, Stine.
The family said they have reached out to lawmakers, the U.S. Embassy in Ecuador, even private investigators.
“Being that it was two different countries, there is nothing that our government can do,” Collar said.
Court dates were set and then pushed back. A U.S. missionary stationed in Ecuador keeps the family informed. Still, they feel helpless and are reaching out in hopes that someone will now know which way to turn.
“We just want her home,” said Stine.
If convicted, Sorsen could spend four to eight years in prison.