By: April Carson
In Michigan, a female was apprehended after she perpetrated an extended catfishing scheme against two teenagers. Over the course of one year, this woman terrorized them through cyberbullying and harassment on social media platforms.
On December 12, 42-year-old Kendra Licari was charged with two counts of stalking a minor, leveraging computers to perpetrate her crime and one count of obstructing justice. What’s even more astounding is that the perpetrator in this case was none other than her own daughter's mother.
Licari had attempted to mislead police and attribute her actions during the investigation to another minor.
She created various social media accounts to bully and harass two teens she knew personally, a 15-year-old and 16-year-old girl.
In response to a complaint lodged with Beal City Schools, Morning Sun reported that the police had begun their investigation.
The report detailed a cyberbullying incident involving Licari's daughter, who is a student at Beal City Schools, and her significant other.
The cyberbullying incident began on October 1st, 2019 and concluded August 17th, 2020. During that time period Licari had used multiple social media accounts to victimize her daughter in an effort to isolate her from other friends and family members.
In December 2021, the initial complaint about Licari's coaching was brought to Beal City superintendent William Chilman. At that time, she was working as a girls' basketball coach at her daughter's school. Unfortunately, by the climax of the basketball season, Licari had been notified not to return due to an alteration in coaches - thus ending her stint there.
Realizing they were unable to locate the perpetrator on their own, district officials sought help from law enforcement by mid-January of 2022. Most cases of cyberbullying, online harassment and catfishing occurred off school grounds with no involvement of school devices.
Following an extensive forensic investigation, the police were able to retrieve evidence of the cyberbullying incidents. The sources of communication were traced back to a unique IP address that eventually led to Licari's home - and her daughter's computer.
In January 2022, law enforcement became involved to address the cyberbullying that began early in 2021, according to Isabella County Prosecutor David Barberi's comments to Morning Sun. The families of both victims admitted having received troubling messages from their respective bully since then.
By correlating Licari to the IP addresses used for sending messages, law enforcement was able to make an arrest. Furthermore, investigations suggested that she had been using virtual private networks in order to obscure her location when transmitting said messages.
Licari ingeniously made it appear as if her daughter's and boyfriend's messages were sent from every new location they inhabited.
The new evidence provided by Licari's daughter and her boyfriend was instrumental in uncovering the mother's abhorrent behaviour. As a result, Licari is facing charges of cyberbullying, which can carry stiff penalties if convicted.
To add to the deception, Licari employed a specific identity in order to appear as if the intimidating messages were being sent from someone near their age. He also incorporated slang abbreviations that are regularly utilized by individuals of similar ages for extra authenticity.
After local law enforcement failed to identify the suspect with their own resources, they eventually contacted the FBI's computer crime division in mid-April 2022. By late April into early May, officials were sure that Licari was behind the online harassment of Chilman.
During the investigation, Barberi informed Morning Sun that his office had obtained an astounding 349 pages of harassing texts and social media messages sent by Licari to her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend. After meticulous scrutiny, they were able to piece together a comprehensive report which revealed just how dire this situation was.
After the police questioned Licari, she confessed to the act without sharing her reasons. The reason behind this criminal offense remains a mystery.
After her arraignment on December 12, Licari was granted a $5,000 bond and released from police custody.
Licari is now facing a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison, with a minimum sentence of one year. It is uncertain what impact this case will have on laws surrounding cyberbullying and the rights of victims and their families.
On December 29, she will learn the fate of her future when a hearing is held to decide if there is enough evidence for her trial to progress. This case has left many wondering why someone would cyberbully their own child. It is clear that there are still so many questions to be answered and this case will likely remain a mystery for some time, if not forever.
One thing is certain: the truth can always be uncovered no matter how hard one may try to hide it, as this case has shown. Cyberbullying is a serious issue, and parents must take the necessary precautions to protect their children from any situation that can lead to such hurtful outcomes.
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April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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