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Judge Refuses to Allow ‘Catfish Mom’ to See Her Daughter for Holidays

The Isabella County mom accused of catfishing and harassing her daughter was back in court Thursday morning, asking to see her daughter for the holidays.

Kendra Licari faces five felony charges after police say she used several devices and IP addresses to harass and stalk her daughter, and her daughter’s boyfriend, for more than a year. Her daughter turned to her parents for help, who then went to the police.

After the FBI got involved, police say they found the anonymous messages were from Licari. She later admitted to sending the messages. Licari was arrested last week and has been ordered to stay away from her daughter since.

It is common practice for a judge to put no-contact orders between a person accused of a crime and their victims while the case is being handled. When it comes to Licari, the victim is her daughter, and over the holidays, she wants to spend time with her.

“I think what makes this case so bizarre is obviously who was involved with it and who the allegations are against,” said Isabella County prosecutor David Barberi.

Licari was in an Isabella County courtroom Thursday for the first time since being charged last week. At the time, the judge made it a point to ban Licari from having contact with the victims.

That includes Licari’s daughter and the two haven’t seen each other since.

“The impact this will have on the kids is the most important thing to think about here,” said Barberi. “It’s such a developmental time in their lives and such an impressionable time in their lives so that’s the real sad part about this.”

Licari and her attorney asked to have the no-contact lifted. She wants to spend the holiday with her daughter as a family. The court even received letters from her daughter saying she wanted to be back with her mother, despite more than a year of alleged harassment.

Barberi pushed against the idea, pointing to mental stress and manipulation being part of the case built against Licari.

“A version of cyber Munchausen syndrome in a sense,” said Barberi. “That this seems to be that type of behavior as you’re making someone feel bad and need you in their life because of this behavior.”

With the case still in its early stages, any additional time spent together could impact future testimony by the daughter, possibly throwing the case off track.

In the end, the judge agreed with Barberi and rejected the plea to lift the order, saying it can be revisited next week at a scheduled pre-trial hearing.

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