Mom accused of catfishing teens, including her own daughter, told police she got caught up in fake message scheme

The mother of a Beal City, Michigan student told police who confronted her about the hundreds of pages of harassing messages she sent to two teens — one her daughter — she fed off the first ones and got carried away.

She also used her background in information technology in learning the phone numbers of the other people involved and in creating fake social media accounts used.

The details are laid out in a copy of the report from the Isabella County Sheriff’s Office, obtained from the Isabella County Prosecutor’s Office under a Freedom of Information Act request.

Kendra Gail Licari, 42, first met with Sheriff Michael Main on Jan. 19. Also at the meeting were her husband and the parents of the boy who was also receiving harassing messages, according to the report. At the time, Main reported that the parents said that the children — both Beal City students — received dozens of messages each day.

“The messages were harassing, threatening and mean,” Main reported. He also reported that the parents brought a stack of them printed out that appeared to be at least 50 pages deep. Ultimately, he reported 749 pages of messages.

The parents reported that it appeared that the messages were coming from other students at Beal City High School. In fact, they identified a specific student and said that they thought the teen with two or three friends was responsible. The teen was identified by a message indicating that she’d scored 12 points the night before in a girls’ basketball game.

Licari’s daughter told Main that the messages started after the two teens didn’t attend a Halloween party they’d been invited to. She also said that she’d gotten the message referencing the 12 points, but that she’d gotten messages all day long the previous week when the teen who scored those points was out sick.

He also spoke with the boy who’d received the messages. The boy said he’d gotten messages advising him to “stay the plan,” but had no idea what that meant.

For the next two weeks, Main attempted to discern whether tips were submitted to an anonymous bullying tip line.

On Jan. 31, he reported getting a report that more harassing messages were sent from an area code associated with the Upper Peninsula, where two of the teens identified as suspects were on vacation.

Main met with one of the teens and that teen’s parents on Feb. 14. During the meeting, one of the adults said they’d stayed at two hotels in the Upper Peninsula while the messages were sent.

During that meeting, Main discussed the messages that appeared to have been sent from the Upper Peninsula, including the times they were sent and what app was used.

The male adult said that he’d had the phone since Feb. 1, that the apps weren’t listed as downloaded in the app store and that the messages were sent at a time they were all on snowmobiles in places without cellular coverage. He also consented to a forensic download of the phone.

Main talked the teen, who said she didn’t know what was meant by “sticking to the plan.” Main reported that he found her truthful and helpful during the interview.

Early in March, Main talked to a number of students at Beal City, and talked to the mother of the boy who received messages later that month.

She provided him with messages from fake Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok accounts. Main submitted search warrants for the Instagram and Snapchat accounts but reported having difficulty finding out who he needed to talk to about TikTok.

On April 11, with no clear leads on who was sending the messages, Main met with Bradley Peter, an officer with the Bay City Police Department working as on a mid-Michigan cybercrime unit.

A few days later, that officer worked with the mother of the boy to use an app to grab the phone number used to send messages. He filed a warrant with Pinger, a California company that provided voiceover Internet services for four numbers the mother provided him with.

Peter was chasing a lead next month involving a man identified as a Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribal police officer when Licari’s name first officials surfaced as a possible suspect.

The officer’s child was linked to the case, but the officer said they didn’t have their phone at the time that some of the messages were sent because they’d confiscated it. Licari was a girls’ basketball coach and was upset that another player was bumped up. She’d also had issues with another child previously.

Peter emailed Licari on May 17 and didn’t hear from her for two days. So he called her and got in touch.

Two days later, Pinger responded, according to the police report. Two of the numbers were assigned to Licari.

Licari had stopped responding to requests for more information, Main reported in early August. And when he tried to execute search warrants for her devices at a previous address, they found the house empty. So was an updated address.

As Main pulled up to the third address, he saw Licari taking trash to the curb. After she denied her involvement, he reported that she finally confessed.

” I asked her why she continued to send the messages,” she said. “(Licari) stated that it was stress and issues at home.”

Licari was arrested last week and charged with two counts of stalking a minor and two counts of using a computer to commit a crime. She is scheduled for a hearing next week to determine whether she should stand trial.

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