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In the Media

13-Year-Old Teen Commits Suicide After Harassment on MySpace

article:246372:77::0
By Pamela Jean
Nov 19, 2007 in Crime
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Megan Meier hanged herself after being the victim of a cruel hoax. A fight with her best friend had the best friend's mom seek revenge. They set up a site on My Space, invented a fake boy, and had him start a relationship with Megan. It cost her her life.
Megan's parents won't release the name of the family that started the hoax that cost them their daughter's life, in an effort to keep the name of Megan's former 16-year-old girlfriend private.
According to authorities, the family that perpetrated the hoax did nothing "illegal" and have not been charged with a crime. Megan's parents, however, are still pursuing justice for their daughter's death, and police have yet to officially close the file.
Megan Meier took her own life on October 16, 2006. Described as a as a “bubbly, goofy” girl, she loved spending time with her friends, watching movies and fishing with her dad.
She had suffered with ADHD, had weight issues, and had suffered from bouts of depression most of her young life. When she and her friend, a girl reportedly aged 16, had a falling out, the 16-year-old's mother decided to play a trick on Megan.
Together with her daughter, she opened up a fake account on MySpace.com and created a 16-year-old boy named "Josh Evans". He was supposedly new in town, having just moved to the area from Florida, was home schooled, and his family had yet to have phone service installed.
What followed was an ongoing, online romance between the insecure Megan and the "cool" new boy, Josh.
Megan's mom was concerned. Although her daughter was under the legal age limit for accessing MySpace.com, her mom had allowed it. When she began the friendship with Josh, mom warned her to be careful.
“‘Megan, c’mon, we don’t even know this person. Let’s not get too excited.’ She’d say, ‘Oh, Mom, you don’t understand.’ So I did talk to her daily about that. But children at this age, they don’t think that.” Tina Meier said.
Once "Josh" had gained Megan's trust, and it had become apparent that she was crushing on him, things took an ugly turn.
Instead of pleasant conversations, suddenly Josh sent a message essentially saying he didn’t want to be her friend anymore, and that he had heard she wasn’t nice to her friends.
What followed was described as "vile" by Megan's parents. Someone accessing Josh's account started sending messages that read "Megan is a slut", "Megan Meier is fat"
Megan called her mother, distraught, and told her how someone was sending out messages vilifying her and insulting her. When Megan's mom returned home, she checked on the communications that were ongoing, and was shocked to see that her daughter was also using extremely foul and vulgar language in an effort to defend herself. She told her daughter that she was disappointed in her behavior, and Megan ran off to her room, and shut the door. She was visibly upset and shaken over the entire incident.
20 minutes later she was discovered in her bedroom, where she had hung herself. 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,
Currently there are no laws in place that prohibit what happened to Megan from happening to another teen. It is not illegal to create a phony profile online. The case remains open, though, and the Meiers continue to hope that criminal charges can be filed under a federal law passed in January 2006 that prohibits online harassment.
They have taken their story public in an effort to warn other parents about people whom claim to be your friend online.
“Continue to monitor your children,” Tina Meier said. “Take an extra step. Ask the question. Look at their computers, know what they’re doing. To kids, don’t trust anybody online that you do not know is your true friend.”
The family responsible for creating the fake profile have never approached the Meiers with an apology for what happened. Although the Meiers don't believe it was ever their intention to have Megan commit suicide, evidence of sorrow on the family's part would have been appreciated.
Since Megan's death, her parents have filed for divorce.
What a sad and tragic story. And to think an adult woman participated in this, actually devising the scheme with her 16-year-old daughter. Just too sad.
article:246372:77::0
More about Internet hoax, Teen suicide, Megan meier
 
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