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11-17-07, 06:35 PM #1
Myspace hoax causes suicide of 13-year-old girl
A bizarre and cruel Internet hoax that ended with the suicide of a 13-year-old girl has bitterly divided a western St. Louis suburb, provoked a firestorm in the blogosphere and raised troubling questions about how to police traffic on popular social networking sites such as MySpace.com.
The death of Megan Meier in Dardenne Prairie, Mo., went beyond the growing phenomenon of cyber-bullying because the alleged instigators of the hoax were not only adults, but parents of a classmate of Megan's, who lived just down the street from her.
No charges have been filed. A local newspaper's decision not to publish the names of the parents involved has fanned a furious public response.
"People are just totally shocked. ... They can't believe that an adult would have done this," said Pam Fogarty, mayor of the town of 7,000 people.
"The scary part is that when you look at the blogs and listen to the phone calls we're getting, it's very quickly becoming a mob mentality," said Fogarty, who has arranged for additional police patrols in the neighborhood.
The involvement of adults in the Meier case breaks new ground, said Parry Aftab, an Internet attorney and executive director of Wiredsafety.org, a cyber safety organization.
"When adults act like children there are criminal consequences," Aftab said. "The Internet should not be used as a weapon."
The Meier suicide occurred in October 2006, but it did not become widely known until last Sunday when the Suburban Journals newspapers, which cover the St. Louis suburbs, published a lengthy article detailing the hoax involving a fictitious 16-year-old boy named Josh Evans, who contacted Megan on MySpace.com.
Their communication lasted six weeks, according to the Journal article, and ended with a string of disturbing messages from Josh and postings that read Megan was "fat" and "a slut."
The story reported Ron Meier, Megan's father, saying the final posting on the MySpace account read "The world would be a better place without you."
Late on the afternoon of Oct. 16, 2006, Ron and Tina Meier discovered Megan had hanged herself in her closet. Megan, who died the following day, was a few weeks shy of her 14th birthday.
In the year since Meier, who suffered from depression, killed herself, investigators in St. Charles County have not determined that any state law was violated. A spokesman for the St. Charles County Sheriff Department said the case has not been closed, although it has not found a violation. Jack Banas, the county prosecutor, said Friday he is examining an FBI report on the case to see if there is the potential of filing charges.
Pokin's story in the Journal said the daughter of the parents who instigated the hoax used to be Megan's best friend. But the girls had a falling out. Pokin's story quoted another neighbor as saying the parents encouraged their daughter "to join in the joke" of the Josh Evans ruse.
"They played on the emotions of our daughter and it was a game," Meier said Friday.
Tina and Ron Meier, who have separated since Megan's death, said they hope there will be a prosecution. In the meantime, Tina Meier said, they will push for a new law "to get justice for Megan."
Net hoax turns deadly, turns town against neighbors
By Tim Jones | Tribune national correspondent
November 17, 2007
11-17-07, 08:35 PM #2
11-17-07, 09:08 PM #3
Some people will stoop to any level, and damn the consequences. Torturing an already disturbed kid probably didn't even make them bat an eyelash.\\` ` ` ` < ` )___/\
`` ` ` ` (3--(____)
"...but to forget your duck, of course, means you're really screwed." - Gary Larson
11-17-07, 11:32 PM #4
Six weeks? Why were the parents not monitoring their childs internet usage? I still check my 16 and 18 year olds sites. 13 is to young to have privacy and here is one good reason why.
Wonder how the investigation will work out.Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me
We are who we choose to be.
R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012
11-17-07, 11:40 PM #5
Yikes...I used to live about 200 yards from Dardienne...those parents should be prosecuted for something...not sure what...500 fights, that's the number I figured when I was a kid. 500 street fights and you could consider yourself a legitimate tough guy. You need them for experience. To develop leather skin. So I got started. Of course along the way you stop thinking about being tough and all that. It stops being the point. You get past the silliness of it all. But then, after, you realize that's what you are.
11-18-07, 12:37 AM #6
I HATE BULLIES.
"A strong man stands up for himself. A stronger man stands up for others."
The old sheriff was attending an awards dinner when a lady commented
on his wearing his sidearm. "Sheriff, I see you have your pistol. Are you
expecting trouble?" "No Ma'am. If I were expecting trouble, I would have
brought my rifle."
(just stole this one hope you don't mind)
The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant,
it is just that they know so much that isn't so.
President Ronald Reagan
11-18-07, 04:30 PM #7
Her myspace: http://myspace.com/109782507
Here's a little better news article: http://ofallonjournal.stltoday.com/a...okin_1.ii1.txt
Now I want to know if any of you guys are fake...
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11-18-07, 05:35 PM #8
ok i'm confused (no breaking news there I know). Was the suicide the hoax, or did the hoax cause the suicide? if the latter, what was the hoax? Do I need to come back when I'm more awake and re-read this?He who has the money, signs the cheques.
He who signs the cheques, makes the rules.
He who makes the rules, has the power.
He who has the power, has the money.
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