Parents Want Jail Time for MySpace Hoax Mom

Lori Drew, 48, said in a police report she created a fake profile of teen boy.

ByABC News via logo
February 19, 2009, 4:40 AM

Nov. 29, 2007 — -- The family of Megan Meier, the 13-year-old girl who took her own life after being bullied on MySpace, is demanding justice and jail time for the adult involved in the bullying.

Lori Drew, the Meiers' 48-year-old neighbor in suburban St. Louis, admitted in a police report that she created a fictitious MySpace account and pretended to be a boy with a romantic interest in Megan. According to the police report, Drew created the profile to find out what Megan was saying online about her teenage daughter.

Megan hanged herself in her closet in October 2006. When police eventually decided that Drew had committed no crime, Megan's parents, who had remained silent about the case until that point, spoke out.

"You cannot as an adult sit there and do that and hide behind a computer. It is a criminal act. We want to see her go to jail," said Tina Meier, Megan's mother.

In an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America," the neighbor who first tipped off police about Drew's involvement says that Drew confessed to her that she had played a hoax on Megan.

"She did sit here in my living room and confess everything to me. She told me that they had pulled an image of a boy off the Internet and that they had created an account using the name of Josh Evans, and she said she knew the last message that left her house that Monday when Megan attempted her life was that, 'The world would be a better place without you,'" said the neighbor, who asked that her identity not be revealed.

Now others are calling for justice in the case. Prosecutors say they are reviewing the case to determine whether anyone will be charged with a crime.

Last week the board of aldermen in the Meiers' hometown, Dardenne Prairie, Mo., passed a law making Internet bullying a misdemeanor in the town.

"It's time that we do something against this. On all levels, the state and federal level," Dardenne Prairie Mayor Pam Fogarty said.

Megan sometimes suffered from low self-esteem and was on medication at the time of her death.

"That is what makes it even more disgusting, that she knew the circumstances around our daughter and still played on it," said Megan's father, Ron Meier.

But Megan's family said she looked forward to her 14th birthday and having her braces removed.

When a cute boy befriended Megan on the social networking site MySpace, the two formed a quick connection during their more-than-monthlong relationship.

"She got this e-mail from this boy named 'Josh Evans,'" Tina Meier said.

Josh claimed to be a 16-year-old boy who lived nearby and was home-schooled. But what began as a promising online friendship soon turned sour, as compliments turned to insults.

Josh said he didn't have a phone and so Megan couldn't talk to him. But the two continued their communication online, despite some red flags Tina Meier said she saw.

"It was just that nervous mom," she said. She called police to find out whether they could determine whether a MySpace account was real. They couldn't.

Still, all seemed to go well between Megan and Josh until an unsettling message started a tragic chain of events.

"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,'" Tina Meier said.

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

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

But six weeks after Megan's death, the Meiers learned that Josh never existed. A mother, who had learned of the page from her own daughter, told the Meiers that Drew had created and monitored Josh's profile and page.

There was a connection between the Meiers and Drew's family. In fact, Drew had asked the Meiers whether her family could store their foosball table.

Once they learned Drew's involvement, the Meiers destroyed the table, placed it in Drew's yard and encouraged the family to move, according to the AP.

"That's the biggest tragedy of this whole thing: An adult did it," Ron Meier said.

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