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Michigan Mom Charged With Stalking For Allegedly Catfishing Daughter In 'Cyber Munchausen's Syndrome' Case
Prosecutors allege that Kendra Licari posed as peers of her daughter's and cyberbullied the teen and her then-boyfriend for more than a year before authorities determined it was her.
A Michigan mother who coached basketball at her daughter's high school has been arrested for “catfishing” the teen and trying to frame another student, according to law enforcement.
Kendra Gail Licari, 42, allegedly cyberbullied her own daughter for months, sending up to 12 “demeaning” messages per day to the girl and her then-boyfriend, prosecutors said. She was charged with stalking a minor, using a computer to commit a crime and obstruction of justice.
“When the case first came into our office, it was bizarre and almost hard to believe,” Isabella County prosecutor David Barberi told WKRC.
Prosecutors say Licari’s daughter and the teen's then-boyfriend first started receiving the toxic messages in 2021, and Licari’s daughter told school officials in Beal City — about 80 miles northeast of Grand Rapids —about the cyberbullying last December. School officials reported the incident to authorities in January 2022, having determined the cyberbullying took place off school grounds.
“By and large it was mostly just harassing-type text messages, demeaning, demoralizing, and just mean texts,” Barberi added.
Barberi said his office ultimately compiled 349 pages of harassing text and social media messages that Licari had sent her own child and the girl's now-ex over the course of a year, the Mercury News reported.
“We’re talking about several hundreds of text messages, over 1,000 pages of discovery in the case,” Barberi said.
At the time of the alleged incident, the Michigan mother was also working as a girls’ basketball coach at her daughter’s Beal City school. She was not asked back at the end of the 2021-2022 season due to "coaching changes," the paper reported.
Licari allegedly created her own personas — posing as peers of her daughter and the boyfriend — and used teenage slang to further obscure her identity while masking her device location by using virtual private networks.
The FBI’s computer crime division, which was brought into the investigation in April, ultimately pinpointed Licari’s IP addresses, and she allegedly confessed after she was approached by authorities. Officials haven't released a specific motive in the perplexing incident.
The Isabella County prosecutor, however, likened Licari's actions to “cyber Munchausen's syndrome.”
"Someone else coined the term, but they called it a version of 'cyber Munchausen's syndrome' in a sense that this seems to be the type of behavior where you're making somebody feel bad or need you in their life because of this behavior," Barberi stated.
Licari was released on a $5,000 bond following a court appearance. Her next court date has been set for Dec. 29.
Oxygen.com has reached out to Beal City Public Schools for comment.