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    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."
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David Baxter

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A real person, a real death
By Steve Pokin, St. Charles Journal
Tuesday, November 13, 2007

His name was Josh Evans. He was 16 years old. And he was hot.

"Mom! Mom! Mom! Look at him!" Tina Meier recalls her daughter saying.

Josh had contacted Megan Meier through her MySpace page and wanted to be added as a friend.Yes, he's cute, Tina Meier told her daughter. "Do you know who he is?"

"No, but look at him! He's hot! Please, please, can I add him?"

Mom said yes. And for six weeks Megan and Josh - under Tina's watchful eye - became acquainted in the virtual world of MySpace.

Josh said he was born in Florida and recently had moved to O'Fallon. He was homeschooled. He played the guitar and drums. He was from a broken home: "when i was 7 my dad left me and my mom and my older brother and my newborn brother 3 boys god i know poor mom yeah she had such a hard time when we were younger finding work to pay for us after he loeft."

As for 13-year-old Megan, of Dardenne Prairie, this is how she expressed who she was:

M is for Modern
E is for Enthusiastic
G is for Goofy
A is for Alluring
N is for Neglected.

She loved swimming, boating, fishing, dogs, rap music and boys. But her life had not always been easy, her mother says. She was heavy and for years had tried to lose weight. She had attention deficit disorder and battled depression. Back in third grade she had talked about suicide, Tina says, and ever since had seen a therapist.

But things were going exceptionally well. She had shed 20 pounds, getting down to 175. She was 5 foot 5? inches tall. She had just started eighth grade at a new school, Immaculate Conception, in Dardenne Prairie, where she was on the volleyball team. She had attended Fort Zumwalt public schools before that.

Amid all these positives, Tina says, her daughter decided to end a friendship with a girlfriend who lived down the street from them. The girls had spent much of seventh grade alternating between being friends and, the next day, not being friends, Tina says.

Part of the reason for Megan's rosy outlook was Josh, Tina says. After school, Megan would rush to the computer. "Megan had a lifelong struggle with weight and self-esteem," Tina says. "And now she finally had a boy who she thought really thought she was pretty."

It did seem odd, Tina says, that Josh never asked for Megan's phone number. And when Megan asked for his, she says, Josh said he didn't have a cell and his mother did not yet have a landline.

And then on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2006, Megan received a puzzling and disturbing message from Josh. Tina recalls that it said: "I don't know if I want to be friends with you anymore because I've heard that you are not very nice to your friends."

Frantic, Megan shot back: "What are you talking about?"

SHADOWY CYBERSPACE
Tina Meier was wary of the cyber-world of MySpace and its 70 million users. People are not always who they say they are.

Tina knew firsthand. Megan and the girl down the block, the former friend, once had created a fake MySpace account, using the photo of a good-looking girl as a way to talk to boys online, Tina says. When Tina found out, she ended Megan's access.

MySpace has rules. A lot of them. There are nine pages of terms and conditions. The long list of prohibited content includes sexual material. And users must be at least 14. "Are you joking?" Tina asks. "There are fifth-grade girls who have MySpace accounts." As for sexual content, Tina says, most parents have no clue how much there is. And Megan wasn't 14 when she opened her account. To join, you are asked your age but there is no check. The accounts are free.

As Megan's 14th birthday approached, she pleaded for her mom to give her another chance on MySpace, and Tina relented. She told Megan she would be all over this account, monitoring it. Megan didn't always make good choices because of her ADD, Tina says. And this time, Megan's page would be set to private and only Mom and Dad would have the password.

'GOD-AWFUL FEELING'
Monday, Oct. 16, 2006, was a rainy, bleak day. At school, Megan had handed out invitations to her upcoming birthday party and when she got home she asked her mother to log on to MySpace to see if Josh had responded.

Why did he suddenly think she was mean? Who had he been talking to? Tina signed on. But she was in a hurry. She had to take her younger daughter, Allison, to the orthodontist.

Before Tina could get out the door it was clear Megan was upset. Josh still was sending troubling messages. And he apparently had shared some of Megan's messages with others. Tina recalled telling Megan to sign off. "I will Mom," Megan said. "Let me finish up."

Tina was pressed for time. She had to go. But once at the orthodontist's office she called Megan: Did you sign off?

"No, Mom. They are all being so mean to me."

"You are not listening to me, Megan! Sign off, now!"

Fifteen minutes later, Megan called her mother. By now Megan was in tears. "They are posting bulletins about me." A bulletin is like a survey. "Megan Meier is a slut. Megan Meier is fat." Megan was sobbing hysterically. Tina was furious that she had not signed off.

Once Tina returned home she rushed into the basement where the computer was. Tina was shocked at the vulgar language her daughter was firing back at people. "I am so aggravated at you for doing this!" she told Megan.

Megan ran from the computer and left, but not without first telling Tina, "You're supposed to be my mom! You're supposed to be on my side!"

On the stairway leading to her second-story bedroom, Megan ran into her father, Ron. "I grabbed her as she tried to go by," Ron says. "She told me that some kids were saying horrible stuff about her and she didn't understand why. I told her it's OK. I told her that they obviously don't know her. And that it would be fine."

Megan went to her room and Ron went downstairs to the kitchen, where he and Tina talked about what had happened, the MySpace account, and made dinner.

Twenty minutes later, Tina suddenly froze in mid-sentence. "I had this God-awful feeling and I ran up into her room and she had hung herself in the closet."

Megan Taylor Meier died the next day, three weeks before her 14th birthday.

Later that day, Ron opened his daughter's MySpace account and viewed what he believes to be the final message Megan saw - one the FBI would be unable to retrieve from the hard drive. It was from Josh and, according to Ron's best recollection, it said, "Everybody in O'Fallon knows how you are. You are a bad person and everybody hates you. Have a ****************ty rest of your life. The world would be a better place without you."

BEYOND GRIEF INTO FURY
Tina and Ron saw a grief counselor. Tina went to a couple of Parents After Loss of Suicide meetings, as well.

They tried to message Josh Evans, to let him know the deadly power of mean words. But his MySpace account had been deleted.

The day after Megan's death, they went down the street to comfort the family of the girl who had once been Megan's friend. They let the girl and her family know that although she and Megan had their ups and down, Megan valued her friendship.

They also attended the girl's birthday party, although Ron had to leave when it came time to sing "Happy Birthday." The Meiers went to the father's 50th birthday celebration. In addition, the Meiers stored a foosball table, a Christmas gift, for that family.

Six weeks after Megan died, on a Saturday morning, a neighbor down the street, a different neighbor, one they didn't know well, called and insisted that they meet that morning at a counselor's office in northern O'Fallon. The woman would not provide details. Ron and Tina went. Their grief counselor was there. As well as a counselor from Fort Zumwalt West Middle School.

The neighbor from down the street, a single mom with a daughter the same age as Megan, informed the Meiers that Josh Evans never existed. She told the Meiers that Josh Evans was created by adults, a family on their block. These adults, she told the Meiers, were the parents of Megan's former girlfriend, the one with whom she had a falling out. These were the people who'd asked the Meiers to store their foosball table.

The single mother, for this story, requested that her name not be used. She said her daughter, who had carpooled with the family that was involved in creating the phony MySpace account, had the password to the Josh Evans account and had sent one message - the one Megan received (and later retrieved off the hard drive) the night before she took her life. "She had been encouraged to join in the joke," the single mother said.

The single mother said her daughter feels the guilt of not saying something sooner and for writing that message. Her daughter didn't speak out sooner because she'd known the other family for years and thought that what they were doing must be OK because, after all, they were trusted adults.

On the night the ambulance came for Megan, the single mother said, before it left the Meiers' house her daughter received a call. It was the woman behind the creation of the Josh Evans account. She had called to tell the girl that something had happened to Megan and advised the girl not to mention the MySpace account.

AX AND SLEDGEHAMMER
The Meiers went home and tore into the foosball table. Tina used an ax and Ron a sledgehammer. They put the pieces in Ron's pickup and dumped them in their neighbor's driveway. Tina spray painted "Merry Christmas" on the box.

According to Tina, Megan had gone on vacations with this family. They knew how she struggled with depression, that she took medication. "I know that they did not physically come up to our house and tie a belt around her neck," Tina says. "But when adults are involved and continue to screw with a 13-year-old - with or without mental problems - it is absolutely vile. She wanted to get Megan to feel like she was liked by a boy and let everyone know this was a false MySpace and have everyone laugh at her. I don't feel their intentions were for her to kill herself. But that's how it ended."

'GAINING MEGAN'S CONFIDENCE'
That same day, the family down the street tried to talk to the Meiers. Ron asked friends to convince them to leave before he physically harmed them.

In a letter dated Nov. 30, 2006, the family tells Ron and Tina, "We are sorry for the extreme pain you are going through and can only imagine how difficult it must be. We have every compassion for you and your family."

The Suburban Journals have decided not to name the family out of consideration for their teenage daughter.

The mother declined comment. "I have been advised not to give out any information and I apologize for that," she says. "I would love to sit here and talk to you about it but I can't." She was informed that without her direct comment the newspaper would rely heavily on the police report she filed with the St. Charles County Sheriff's Department regarding the destroyed foosball table. "I will tell you that the police report is totally wrong," the mother said. "We have worked on getting that changed. I would just be very careful about what you write."

Lt. Craig McGuire, spokesman for the sheriff's department, said he is unaware of anyone contacting the department to alter the report. "We stand behind the report as written," McGuire says. "There was no supplement to it. What is in the report is what we believe she told us."

The police report - without using the mother's name - states:

"(She) stated in the months leading up Meier's daughter's suicide, she instigated and monitored a 'my space' account which was created for the sole purpose of communicating with Meier's daughter. (She) said she, with the help of temporary employee named ------ constructed a profile of 'good looking' male on 'my space' in order to 'find out what Megan (Meier's daughter) was saying on-line' about her daughter. (She) explained the communication between the fake male profile and Megan was aimed at gaining Megan's confidence and finding out what Megan felt about her daughter and other people. (She) stated she, her daughter and (the temporary employee) all typed, read and monitored the communication between the fake male profile and Megan... According to (her) 'somehow' other 'my space' users were able to access the fake male profile and Megan found out she had been duped. (She) stated she knew 'arguments' had broken out between Megan and others on 'my space.' (She) felt this incident contributed to Megan's suicide, but she did not feel 'as guilty' because at the funeral she found out 'Megan had tried to commit suicide before.'"

Tina says her daughter died thinking Josh was real and that she never before attempted suicide. "She was the happiest she had ever been in her life," Ron says. After years of wearing braces, Megan was scheduled to have them removed the day she died. And she was looking forward to her birthday party. "She and her mom went shopping and bought a new dress," Ron says. "She wanted to make this grand entrance with me carrying her down the stairs. I never got to see her in that dress until the funeral."

NO CRIMINAL CHARGES
It does not appear that there will be criminal charges filed in connection with Megan's death. "We did not have a charge to fit it," McGuire says. "I don't know that anybody can sit down and say, 'This is why this young girl took her life.'"

The Meiers say the matter also was investigated by the FBI, which analyzed the family computer and conducted interviews. Ron said a stumbling block is that the FBI was unable to retrieve the electronic messages from Megan's final day, including that final message that only Ron saw.

The Meiers do not plan to file a civil lawsuit. Here's what they want: They want the law changed, state or federal, so that what happened to Megan - at the hands of an adult - is a crime.

THE AFTERMATH IS PAIN
The Meiers are divorcing. Ron says Tina was as vigilant as a parent could be in monitoring Megan on MySpace. Yet she blames herself. "I have this awful, horrible guilt and this I can never change," she said. "Ever."

Ron struggles daily with the loss of a daughter who, no matter how low she felt, tried to make others laugh and feel a little bit better. He has difficulty maintaining focus and has kept his job as a tool and die maker through the grace and understanding of his employer, he says. His emotions remain jagged, on edge.

Christine Buckles lives in the same Waterford Crossing subdivision. In her view, everyone in the subdivision knows of Megan's death, but few know of the other family's involvement.

Tina says she and Ron have dissuaded angry friends and family members from vandalizing the other home for one, and only one, reason. "The police will think we did it," Tina says.

Ron faces a misdemeanor charge of property damage. He is accused of driving his truck across the lawn of the family down the street, doing $1,000 in damage, in March. A security camera the neighbors installed on their home allegedly caught him.

It was Tina, a real estate agent, who helped the other family purchase their home on the same block 2? years ago. "I just wish they would go away, move," Ron says.

Vicki Dunn, Tina's aunt, last month placed signs in and near the neighborhood on the anniversary of Megan's death. They read: "Justice for Megan Meier," "Call the St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney," and "MySpace Impersonator in Your Neighborhood."

On the window outside Megan's room is an ornamental angel that Ron turns on almost every night. Inside are pictures of boys, posters of Usher, Beyonce and on the dresser a tube of instant bronzer. "She was all about getting a tan," Ron says. He has placed the doors back on the closet. Megan had them off. If only she had waited, talked to someone, or just made it to dinner, then through the evening, and then on to the beginning of a new day in what could have been a remarkable life. If she had, he says, there is no doubt she would have chosen to live. Instead, there is so much pain.

"She never would have wanted to see her parents divorce," Ron says. Ultimately, it was Megan's choice to do what she did, he says. "But it was like someone handed her a loaded gun."
 

David Baxter

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Mom: Girl killed herself over online hoax

Mom: Girl killed herself over online hoax
Sat., Nov. 17, 2007

Teen distraught at end of MySpace relationship; neighbor family created ID

DARDENNE PRAIRIE, Mo. - Megan Meier thought she had made a new friend in cyberspace when a cute teenage boy named Josh contacted her on MySpace and began exchanging messages with her.

Megan, a 13-year-old who suffered from depression and attention deficit disorder, corresponded with Josh for more than a month before he abruptly ended their friendship, telling her he had heard she was cruel.

The next day Megan committed suicide. Her family learned later that Josh never actually existed; he was created by members of a neighborhood family that included a former friend of Megan's.

Now Megan's parents hope the people who made the fraudulent profile on the social networking Web site will be prosecuted, and they are seeking legal changes to safeguard children on the Internet.

The girl's mother, Tina Meier, said she doesn't think anyone involved intended for her daughter to kill herself.

?Absolutely vile?
"But when adults are involved and continue to screw with a 13-year-old, with or without mental problems, it is absolutely vile," she told the Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis, which first reported on the case.

Tina Meier said law enforcement officials told her the case did not fit into any law. But sheriff's officials have not closed the case and pledged to consider new evidence if it emerges.

Megan Meier hanged herself in her bedroom on Oct. 16, 2006, and died the next day. She was described as a "bubbly, goofy" girl who loved spending time with her friends, watching movies and fishing with her dad.

Megan had been on medication, but had been upbeat before her death, her mother said, after striking up a relationship on MySpace with Josh Evans about six weeks before her death.

Josh told her he was born in Florida and had recently moved to the nearby community of O'Fallon. He said he was homeschooled, and didn't yet have a phone number in the area to give her.

Megan's parents said she received a message from him on Oct. 15 of last year, essentially saying he didn't want to be her friend anymore, that he had heard she wasn't nice to her friends.

Megan seemed upset
The next day, as Megan's mother headed out the door to take another daughter to the orthodontist, she knew Megan was upset about Internet messages. She asked Megan to log off. Users on MySpace must be at least 14, though Megan was not when she opened her account. A MySpace spokeswoman did not return calls seeking comment.

Someone using Josh's account was sending cruel messages. Then, Megan called her mother, saying electronic bulletins were being posted about her, saying things like, "Megan Meier is a slut. Megan Meier is fat."

Megan's mother, who monitored her daughter's online communications, returned home and said she was shocked at the vulgar language her own daughter was sending. She told her daughter how upset she was about it.

Megan ran upstairs, and her father, Ron, tried to tell her everything would be fine. About 20 minutes later, she was found in her bedroom. She died the next day.

Her father said he found a message the next day from Josh, which he said law enforcement authorities have not been able to retrieve. It told the girl she was a bad person and the world would be better without her, he has said.

Another parent, who learned of the MySpace account from her own daughter who had access to the Josh profile, told Megan's parents about the hoax in a counselor's office about six weeks after Megan died. That's when they learned Josh was imaginary, they said.

Creator of fake account not charged
The woman who created the fake profile has not been charged with a crime. She allegedly told the St. Charles County Sheriff's Department she created Josh's profile because she wanted to gain Megan's confidence to know what Megan was saying about her own child online.

The mother from down the street told police that she, her daughter and another person all typed and monitored the communication between the fictitious boy and Megan.

A person who answered the door at the family's house told an Associated Press reporter on Friday afternoon that they had been advised not to comment.

Megan's parents had been storing a foosball table for the family that created the MySpace character. Six weeks after Megan's death, they learned the other family had created the profile and responded by destroying the foosball table, dumping it on the neighbors' driveway and encouraging them to move away.

Megan's parents are now separated and plan to divorce.

Aldermen in Dardenne Prairie, a community of about 7,000 residents about 35 miles from St. Louis, have proposed a new ordinance related to child endangerment and Internet harassment. It could come before city leaders on Wednesday.

"Is this enough?" Mayor Pam Fogarty said Friday. "No, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it's something, and you have to start somewhere."
 

David Baxter

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No criminal charges filed because none could be applied

No laws broken in MySpace-suicide case
Dec. 3, 2007

No criminal charges filed because none could be applied under current law

ST. CHARLES, Missouri - A prosecutor said Monday he will not file criminal charges in the case of the teenage girl who committed suicide after being bullied on the Internet because no charges could be applied under current law.

The parents of 13-year-old Megan Meier, who hanged herself last year, said her suicide was the result of harassment after she created a profile on the MySpace social networking site.

They have said an adult neighbor fabricated a teenage boy online who pretended to be interested in Megan before he began bullying her. The mother is quoted in a police report as saying she and an 18-year-old employee created the boy's account.

St. Charles County Prosecutor Jack Banas said the fake MySpace page was not created by the mother of one of Megan's friends, as has been reported. He said the page was created by an 18-year-old employee of that mother, though the mother knew about the page.

The messages were being sent by the 18-year-old and by the neighbor's daughter.

The prosecutor's office had been investigating whether any laws were broken or charges could be filed.
 

David Baxter

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Neighbors shun family over MySpace hoax

Neighbors shun family over MySpace hoax
By Christopher Leonard
Thurs., Dec. 6, 2007

Prosecutors say they have found no grounds for charges against Lori Drew

DARDENNE PRAIRIE, Mo. - Waterford Crystal Drive is one of those suburban streets that seem so new as to have no history at all. But the suicide of a teenage girl ? and allegations she had been tormented by a neighbor over the Internet ? have brought a reaction that is old, almost tribal, in its nature.

Residents of the middle-class subdivision have turned against the neighbor, Lori Drew, and her family, demanding the Drews move out. In interviews, they have warned darkly that someone might be tempted to "take matters into their own hands."

"It's like they used to do in the 1700s and 1800s. If you wronged a community, you were basically shunned. That's basically what happened to her," said Trevor Buckles, a 40-year-old who lives next door to the Drews.

Drew became an outcast after she admitted inventing "Josh Evans," a good-looking teenage boy who chatted online with 13-year-old Megan Meier. Megan received cruel messages from Josh that apparently drove her to hang herself in her closet in 2006.

Through her lawyer, Drew, a mother of two in her 40s, has denied saying hurtful things to the girl over the Internet, and prosecutors have said they found no grounds for charges against the woman. Neverthess, the community reaction has been vengeful and the pressure on the Drews intense.

Hundreds of residents gathered in front of their home on a recent evening, holding candles and reciting stories about Megan.

Last December, after neighbors learned of the internet hoax, someone threw a brick through a window in the Drew home. A few weeks ago, someone made a prank call to police reporting that there had been a shooting inside the Drew's house, prompting squad cars to arrive with sirens flashing.

Someone recently obtained the password to change the Drew's outgoing cell phone recording, and replaced it with a disturbing message. Police would not detail the content.

Clients have fled from Drew's home-based advertising business, so she had to close it. Neighbors have not seen Drew outside her home in weeks.

Death threats and ugly insults have been hurled at Drew over the internet, where she has been portrayed as monster who should go to prison, lose custody of her own children, or worse. Her name and address have been posted online, and a web site with satellite images of the home said the Drews should "rot in hell."

Some of the threats "really freak me out," Buckles said while standing on his front porch after dark Tuesday night. As he spoke, a car slowed and stopped in front of Drew's home. It sat there idling for a few long minutes, then sped away. Buckles said it is a common occurrence.

"I just really hope that no one comes out here and does something insane," Buckles said. "If they do, I hope they get the right house."

Sheriff's Lt. David Tiefenbrunn said patrols have been stepped up around Drew's house. "There could be individuals out there with a vigilante-type attitude that might want to take revenge," he said.

The Drews ? Lori, husband Curt and two children ? live a one-story ranch. An older man at the house who described himself only as a relative said Lori Drew would not comment. He would not say if the family planned to move.

Ron and Tina Meier's home is four houses away from the Drews'. The sidewalk is curved, so the neighbors can't see each other from their front doors. The breach between the once-friendly families seems beyond repair.

"I think that what they have done is so despicable, that I think it absolutely disgusts people," Tina Meier said. "I can't take one ounce of energy worrying about who does not like Lori Drew or who hates Lori Drew. I could not care less."

Just a year ago, Waterford Crystal Drive was the kind of quiet suburban street where joggers waved hello while kids played in their front yards. Lately the road has been choked with TV news trucks, and neighbors hustle inside to avoid questions.

The row of brick-facade homes, with basketball nets and American flags out front, was carved out of the woods and pastures in the mid-1990s. Between rooftops, residents can see the neon signs of the strip mall restaurants near a highway that carries commuters some 35 miles to jobs in downtown St. Louis.

The subdivision and those surrounding it have street names evoking the good life, from Quaint Cottage Drive to Country Squire Circle.

The Drews used to fit in just fine, said John McIntyre, who described Lori Drew as an intensely social woman who never hesitated to stop and talk. She and Curt came over to McIntyre's home to look at his glassed-in porch because they were thinking of adding their own, he said.

McIntyre fondly remembered another guest ? Megan. She came across the street to baby-sit McIntyre's 4-year-old daughter Genna and arrived with a clipboard and notes, determined to do the job right. He said the activity was good for Megan, who suffered from depression for years.

"She was a good kid," McIntyre said.

Megan became friends with the Drews' young daughter and the girls remained close for years, according to a report provided by prosecutors. But the girls had a falling-out in 2006.

Lori Drew and an employee, referred to only as a teenager named Ashley in the report, created a fake MySpace page so they could monitor what Megan was saying online about Drew's daughter, the report said. Ashley sent Megan most of the messages from "Josh," and Lori Drew was aware of them, prosecutors said.

On Oct. 16, 2006, there was a heated online exchange between Megan and Ashley, who was posing as Josh. It ended when "Josh" said the world would be better off without Megan.

Tina Meier said her daughter went to her room, crying and upset. About 20 minutes later, Megan was found hanging from a belt tied around her neck.

Drew's attorney Jim Briscoe said on NBC on Tuesday that Drew "absolutely, 100 percent" had nothing to do with the negative comments posted online about Megan and wasn't aware of them until after the girl took her life.
 

Blaze

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That is so terrible!!! In the new digital age, the bullying and harassment can take so many new forms. Children are getting more access to the internet and these sites allow more public and speedy forms of bullying. Things such as this need to addressed as soon as possible. Have any laws passed regarding this form of harassment and bullying?
 

David Baxter

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Teen describes role in MySpace hoax

Teen describes role in MySpace hoax
April. 1, 2008

Says mother of a friend was more active in the ruse than she has admitted

DARDENNE PRAIRIE, Mo. - A teenager involved in an Internet hoax blamed for a 13-year-old girl's suicide said Tuesday that the mother of a friend was more active in the ruse than she has admitted.

Ashley Grills told ABC's Good Morning America that Lori Drew called it "a good idea" when Grills and Drew's daughter suggested communicating with Megan Meier over the Internet to see what Megan was saying about the daughter, a former friend.

Megan, of the suburban St. Louis town of Dardenne Prairie, hanged herself in October 2006, after mean-spirited online comments from what she thought was a boy she had befriended, "Josh Evans", and others. The boy was fictional.

Grills, 19, said she created a false MySpace profile of Josh Evans and even found a picture of a good-looking boy to use. But she said Lori Drew wrote some of the messages to Megan.

Drew's family previously said in a statement that Lori Drew was aware of the MySpace comments to Megan, but didn't send them or direct anyone to send them.

Drew's attorney, Jim Briscoe, did not return a phone message left Tuesday by The Associated Press. Grills did not have a listed phone number, and no one answered the door at her home Tuesday evening when the AP tried to get comment.

Megan's story drew international attention when a newspaper first reported details late last year.

At first, "Josh" flirted online with Megan, but eventually the messages turned mean. Grills told Good Morning America that she wrote the message that the "world would be a better place without you" that was sent to Megan, who committed suicide not long afterward.

Grills said the message was aimed at ending the online relationship because she felt that the joke had gone too far.

"I was trying to get her angry so she would leave him alone and I could get rid of the whole MySpace," Grills said.

Grills said she tried to commit suicide in the wake of Megan's death. She said she rarely leaves her house.

Drew has been villified by many in her community since news of Megan's suicide became public. Prosecutors have declined to file charges in Missouri, though several communities have either adopted laws, or are considering measures, to penalize Web-based harassment.

The Los Angeles Times has reported that federal prosecutors are considering charging Drew with defrauding MySpace for the false account used to communicate with Megan. ABC News reported that Grills had been granted immunity in exchange for testimony in California.

Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, told The Associated Press on Tuesday he could not comment.
 

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Woman Accused Of Deadly MySpace Hoax
Friday May 16, 2008

A 49-year-old woman accused of using a fake MySpace account that prompted the suicide of a 13-year-old girl has been charged with conspiracy.

Megan, pictured in a MySpace memorial for herAmerican Lori Drew allegedly helped create a fictitious profile of a 16-year-old boy on the social networking site and used the persona to flirt with the girl, who had fallen out with the woman's teenage daughter.

Prosecutors say she then abruptly ended the relationship and sent hoax victim Megan Meier a series of cruel messages, including one saying the world would be better off without her.

Megan's suicide by hanging in 2006 - hours after she read those final messages - made worldwide headlines and prompted calls for sites like MySpace to crack down on cyber-bullying.

This adult woman allegedly used the Internet to target a young teenage girl, with horrendous ramifications," said lawyer Thomas O'Brien as the charges were announced in Los Angeles, where MySpace is based.

"Any adult who uses the Internet or a social gathering Web site to bully or harass another person, particularly a young teenage girl, needs to realize that their actions can have serious consequences," he added.

MySpace issued a statement saying it "does not tolerate cyberbullying" and was co-operating fully with lawyers.

Legal experts said the charges, which were handed down in Los Angeles after Drew's local Missouri authorities declined to prosecute, was a first of its kind and could stretch the bounds of the federal law on which it was based.

Drew was charged with one count of conspiracy and three counts of accessing protected computers without authorisation to get information used to inflict emotional distress on the girl.

The 49-year-old denies creating the account or sending messages to Megan.

Megan's father, Ron Meier, 38, said he began to cry "tears of joy" when he heard that she was to be prosecuted.

Drew faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison if she is convicted on all of the charges.
 

ladylore

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This was on the news last night. I don't know what kind of adult would do that to a kid, and she is a parent herself :rant: I'm glad she was charged.
 

David Baxter

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I am too. I think we have to deliver a very stern message that cyber bullying and tormenting is just not going to be tolerated.
 

Elizabeth

Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2008
Messages
77
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Reading that bought tears to my eyes, it is just awful. Too many young kids are
taking their lives over something that happens on these sort of sites, I dont trust my space/facebook, I will have nothing to do with them. And to think it was a mother with kids of her own, despicable!:rant:
 

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