DOCUMENT: Internet, Crime

Neighbor Indicted In MySpace Suicide Case

Missouri woman charged for orchestrating cruel Megan Meier hoax

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Neighbor Indicted In MySpace Suicide Case

MAY 15--A Missouri woman was indicted today on federal fraud and conspiracy charges for her alleged role in orchestrating a cruel MySpace hoax against a teenage girl who later committed suicide.

Lori Drew, 49, was named in an indictment handed up today in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles (a copy of the indictment can be found here). According to prosecutors, Drew created a fake MySpace page as a ruse to determine whether Megan Meier, 13, was making derogatory remarks about her daughter, with whom Meier was feuding.

The MySpace page was purportedly that of 'Josh Evans,' a 16-year-old boy who had taken a liking to Meier (the late girl is identified in the indictment only by her initials, M.T.M.). Posing as 'Evans,' Drew and her unnamed co-conspirators, investigators allege, frequently corresponded with Meier, inviting the child at one point to touch the 'snake' of 'Evans.'

On October 16, 2006, 'Evans' told Meier 'in substance, that the world would be a better place without M.T.M in it.' Later that day, Meier hanged herself in a closet at her family's O'Fallon, Missouri home. When Drew learned of the suicide, the indictment charges, she caused the fake MySpace page to be deleted and directed a juvenile who knew of the hoax to 'keep her mouth shut.'

A key witness in the federal probe was Ashley Grills, 19, who has admitted to helping Drew set up and maintain the phony MySpace account. Grills's account of her involvement can be found here, while various police reports can be found here. (10 pages)