Custom Search

Friday, May 16, 2008

Indictment Handed Down In The MySpace Hoax That Caused The Suicide Of A Child

(Megan Meier, 13, hanged herself in her bedroom after being targeted in a MySpace hoax.)

An online hoax turned deadly, back in October of 2006, resulting in the suicide of a 13 year old girl. The hoax against Megan Meier was allegedly perpetrated by adults, one was Lori Drew and she has just been indicted for her role in Megan's death.
The heartless online hoax was detailed in the 13 page police report and the indictment lays out how the prosecutors determined to charge Lori Drew with one count of conspiracy and three counts of accessing protected computers without authorization to get information used to inflict emotional distress, resulting in her suicide.

The police report, dated 11/28/2006, details (page 2) how Lori Drew admitted to the police her role in creating a fictitious Myspace profile and account, which she denies doing now, of a boy named "Josh Evans", supposedly a good looking 16 year old.

The "Josh Evans" account was created with the sole purpose of communicating with Megan, allegedly to see what Megan was saying online about Drew's daughter.

Drew also asserted in her statement to the police that the tone of the online communications because "sexual for a thirteen year old" and that she continued the fake male profile despite that development.

"According to Drew "somehow" other "my space" users were able to access the fake male profile and Megan found out she had been duped. Drew stated she knew "arguments" had broken out between Megan and others on "my space". Drew 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".

According to reports at the time, the communications between the fake "Josh", who was really Lori Drew, lasted a month and went from being friendly to "sour" as compliments turned to insults

Megan's mother, Tina Meier, says all seemed to be going well until one specific message started a chain of events that led to her daughters suicide.

Tina Meier says, "Megan gets an e-mail, or a message from Josh on her MySpace on Oct. 15, 2006, saying, 'I don't know if I want to be friends with you any longer because I hear you're not nice to your friends."

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

The cyber exchange devastated Megan, who was unable to understand how and why her friendship unraveled. The stress and frustration was too much for Megan, who had a history of depression.

One of those fateful last messages also include one about how the world would be better off without Megan in it.

Tina Meier discovered her daughter's body in a bedroom closet on Oct. 16, 2006. Megan had hanged herself and died a day later.

Six weeks later Tina Meier found out that there never was a "Josh Evans" and that "neighborhood mom had created and monitored Evans' profile and page."

Yesterday an indictment (10 page PDF file) was handed down against Lori Drew for her role in creating the fictitious MySpace account of "Joshua Evans' and the indictment charges that Drew and her co-conspirators "used the information obtained over the MySpace computer system to torment, harass, humiliate, and embarrass the juvenile MySpace member."

Starting on page 7 of the indictment in lists 12 over acts committed by Lori Drew and/or her co-conspirators, starting with the creation of the account.

It details overt acts allegedly perpetrated by Drew and/or her co-conspirators, where they flirted and developed an online relationship with Megan to which led to Overt Act #10 which was where they used the "Josh" MySpace account to tell Megan, in substance, that the world would be a better place without her in it.

Overt act #11 says, "On or about October 16, 2006, after learning that M.T.M. had killed herself, defendant DREW caused the Josh Evans MySpace Account to be deleted."

The last Overt Act listed was #12, which states, "On or about October 16, 2006, after learning that M.T.M. had killed herself, defendant DREW directed a juvenile who had knowledge of the Josh Evans MySpace Account to "keep her mouth shut" and to refrain from trying to access the Josh Evans MySpace Account".

The assistant agent in charge of the Los Angeles FBI office, Salvador Hernandez, stated to reporters, "The Internet is a world unto itself. People must know how far they can go before they must stop. They exploited a young girl's weaknesses. Whether the defendant could have foreseen the results, she's responsible for her actions."

Tina Meier has acknowledged Megan was too young to have a MySpace account under the Web site's guidelines, but she said she had been able to closely monitor the account. Meier's family has also acknowledged that Megan was also sending mean messages before her death.

Megan was being treated for attention deficit disorder and depression, her family has said. Meier has said Drew knew Megan was on medication.

MySpace has cooperated fully with the U.S. Attorney's office in the investigation of this case.

Lori Drew will be arraigned in St. Louis, Missouri and will be moved to Los Angeles for her trial and if convicted, each of the four counts she is charged with, carries a maximum possible penalty of five years in prison.

Drew's co-conspirator was Ashley Grills, is 19 years old, she has admitted to creating the Josh Evans MySpace Account for Lori Drew as well as writing some of the messages.