I first heard about this when it popped briefly on Memeorandum posted at Death by 1,000 Papercuts. The story will make you sick. A 13 year-old girl, with a learning disability and suffering from depression, committed suicide. The cause? A hoax on MySpace perpetrated by a neighborhood family – including the mother of that family. Now the Associated Press has picked the story up. AP first:
DARDENNE PRAIRIE, Mo. – Megan Meier thought she had made a new friend in cyberspace when a cute teenage boy named Josh contacted her on MySpace and began exchanging messages with her.
Megan, a 13-year-old who suffered from depression and attention deficit disorder, corresponded with Josh for more than a month before he abruptly ended their friendship, telling her he had heard she was cruel.
The next day Megan committed suicide. Her family learned later that Josh never actually existed; he was created by members of a neighborhood family that included a former friend of Megan's.
Now Megan's parents hope the people who made the fraudulent profile on the social networking Web site will be prosecuted, and they are seeking legal changes to safeguard children on the Internet.
The girl's mother, Tina Meier, said she doesn't think anyone involved intended for her daughter to kill herself.
"But when adults are involved and continue to screw with a 13-year-old, with or without mental problems, it is absolutely vile," she told the Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis, which first reported on the case.
Tina Meier said law enforcement officials told her the case did not fit into any law. But sheriff's officials have not closed the case and pledged to consider new evidence if it emerges.
Megan Meier hanged herself in her bedroom on Oct. 16, 2006, and died the next day. She was described as a "bubbly, goofy" girl who loved spending time with her friends, watching movies and fishing with her dad.
Death by 1,000 Papercuts now:
The paper went on to describe how six weeks after Megan's sad death her parents were informed that their precious daughter was the victim of a cruel hoax on MySpace. The perpetrators were the very same people, the parents of Megan's one time friend, who after Megan's death, had asked Megan's parents if they could store their foosball table in Megan's parent's garage. The paper reported that upon of learning the gruesome details of what had happened to their daughter and who was behind it Megan's father destroyed the foosball table.
Tina used an ax and Ron a sledgehammer. They put the pieces in Ron's pickup and dumped them in their neighbor's driveway. Tina spray painted "Merry Christmas" on the box.
The cruel hoax extraordinaires filed a police report over the destruction of their foosball table. They also sent a "condolence" note to Megan's parents:
An adult perpetrated an internet vendetta against a 13-year old girl? Even if the goal was to hurt her feelings or emotionally wound her – a grown-up (supposed grown-up) against a child? As I mentioned last night, I have no flexibility on this issue. This is the abuse by an adult on a child. Nobody can bring Megan back, but somebody should damn sure pay for this.