Cyber Bullies: Megan Meier

A Tragic Outcome

"On October 16, 2006, my daughter, Megan, hanged herself in her bedroom. Megan was 13 years old," Ron Meier recounts somberly. "Megan had a MySpace account, and she had become friends with a boy named Josh Evans and corresponded for roughly four to six weeks."

Soon after Megan's online friendship bega
n, the relationship turned ugly. "Megan received a message from Josh Evans stating that he did not want to be friends with Megan any longer, that he heard she was not a very nice person. Megan was absolutely getting bombarded with these insults," recalls her mom, Tina. "I was aggravated, so I had my voice raised with her: ‘You knew better than to stay on MySpace. You knew the rules.' She was really upset, and I said, ‘Megan, I am really disappointed with you.' She said, ‘You're supposed to be my mom. You're supposed to be on my side,' and she took off running upstairs. Those were the last words that she said to me."

Ron and Tina were in the kitchen discussing Megan's online activity when Tina sensed that something was dreadfully wrong. "All of a sudden, my heart just dropped. I just had this horrible feeling," she remembers. "I turned around and took off up the stairs."

"I heard this god-awful scream. I ran upstairs into Megan's room, and she was hanging in her closet. I grabbed Megan in one arm. She had a belt around her neck, and it was really tight. I couldn't get it off, so I grabbed Megan and picked her up with one arm, and I grabbed the whole closet organizer with the other arm and ripped it all out of the wall to get her down. Tina called 911," Ron recounts.

Megan was rushed to the hospital, but she died the next day. "They took all of the cords, and IVs and everything off of her," Ron says. Tears stream down his face at the memory. "We just laid in the bed and held her."

"It's just the most horrible feeling that I've ever felt in my entire life," Tina adds.

About six weeks after Megan died, the Meier's received a devastating phone call from a neighbor. "She told us that she had information that [another] neighbor, Lori Drew, was responsible for creating this fake MySpace account. Megan had known her daughter since the fourth grade. They'd spend the night at each other's house," Tina reveals. "Lori Drew and her daughter, they created this MySpace account as a joke. They wanted to find out what Megan was saying about their daughter. Lori Drew confessed in the police report that that's why she created this 'Josh Evans' account."

"I do blame Lori Drew for what happened to Megan, without a doubt," Ron says. "The Drew family totally played us like fools."

"We were connected with the FBI. Through the investigation, we found out, later in the spring of 2007, that there just was not a law that they could fit it in to. It is cyber bullying to the 10th degree," Tina insists. She doesn't want her daughter's death to be in vain. "The fight to me now is to fight for justice, for the laws to change. This is not just things that you see on TV. Megan was a real person, a real girl with real dreams."

"You lost your daughter to this ridiculous, ridiculous conduct and exercise. There's no way to make it right," Dr. Phil sympathizes.

"I can't make it right. I can't bring her back, no matter what I do," Tina agrees. "The only thing that we can do from this is to try to change the laws and to try to get the word out to children and to parents."

Tina explains how Megan became susceptible to the cyber hoax. "Megan had a horrible seventh grade year. She was in public school from elementary all the way up to seventh grade. And seventh grade was just horrible. She had been bullied. It was about her weight," she reveals.

"When she was on the Internet talking to this ‘person,' tell me about the bullying online, and how did you find out about it," Dr. Phil prompts.

"She started talking to the boy and for about four or five weeks, things were fine. He told her she had beautiful eyes, asked her how her day at school went," Tina shares.

"Who was actually on the other end?" Dr. Phil probes.

"On the other end, we found out five weeks after Megan passed away, was a neighbor down the street " a mother " an 18-year-old employee of hers, and her 13-year-old daughter," Tina says.

"Pretending to be a boy to attract her into adding [him as a friend on MySpace]," Dr. Phil muses. "And then it turned ugly."

"Yes. Megan received a message from him saying, ‘I don't want to be friends with you any longer. I heard you're not very nice,'" Tina remembers. "Megan and Josh started fighting. Megan was trying to figure out who told Josh she was being mean. A couple of other girls got involved, and it just absolutely started slamming. Names were getting called, calling Megan a whore. These other girls were calling Megan names. Megan was calling them names. Josh was calling her names. She was hysterical, upset. About 20 minutes later, I just had a horrible feeling in my stomach, and I ran upstairs. Her door was closed, and I found her. She was hanging in her closet."

Dr. Phil reads an excerpt from the Drew family's statement: "‘Lori Drew did not create, or direct anyone to create, the Josh Evans MySpace account. Although she was aware of the account, Lori Drew never sent any messages to Megan or to anyone else using this MySpace account.' What's your response to her denial about this?" he asks.

"First of all, we have a police report that Lori Drew gave the police officer on November 25, 2006," Tina explains. "That was a police officer that she contacted. She called him to the house and gave the statement."

Dr. Phil reads a portion of the statement Lori Drew gave the police officer. "'Drew said she, with the help of temporary employee named ‘Ashley,' constructed a profile of a good-looking male on MySpace in order to find out what Megan was saying online about her daughter. Drew explained the communication between the fake male and Megan was aimed at gaining Megan's confidence and finding out what Megan felt about her daughter and other people. Drew stated she, her daughter, and Ashley all typed, read and monitored the communication between the fake male profile and Megan.' She seems to say " at least as reported in this police report, and we have the actual document " that she was involved, but she now has a statement saying she didn't create [the fake MySpace profile], and she didn't participate in it."

"How many people on death row do the same thing?" Lori asks wryly. "People can change things all the time. I could do the same thing."