Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Tragic Death of Megan Meiers

I know, I know. I'm supposed to be writing about scrapbooking or writing or something "post-Thanksgiving." But I can't. I'm too upset.

By now you might have read about the tragic death of Megan Meiers. She was a thirteen-year-old girl who had struggled with depression, been badly bullied, and started to turn around her life when Josh Evans “met” her on MySpace.

Now an adult might have thought Josh’s interest suspect, since he never divulged his phone number and only communicated online. But if you’re the parent of a teen, you know this generation is different. My son can text-message faster than I can type. Yes, he does talk with his friends, but that’s no longer the primary method for staying in touch.

Josh was the perfect boy: sixteen, homeschooled, nice looking, played an instrument, and most importantly of all, he liked Megan. Her confidence soared, and her life began to turn-around.

For six weeks, Josh and Megan chatted online. Megan’s mother monitored the relationship. Then one day, Josh decided to end it. He told Megan he’d heard rumors that she wasn’t a good friend. And according to Megan’s father, Josh said something to the effect, “This would be a better world without you in it.”

Twenty minutes later, Megan hung herself. Her parents found her; she died the next day.

Sounds like a sad, but typical story of tragic young love gone awry, doesn’t it? We can all think back to our first crushes, the broken hearts, the tearful partings. But this story has an odd twist: Josh Evans never existed.

He was a fantasy cooked up by a mother and daughter four houses down from the Meiers. The mother, Lori Drew, admitted to the FBI that they had created Josh Evans to monitor what Megan was saying about her daughter. And the Drews' involvement would not have come to light except…except that Mrs. Drew and her daughter bragged about what they were doing to another family, one they carpooled with.

According to the police report, Mrs. Drew “felt this incident (the online concoction of Josh Evans) contributed to Megan's suicide, but she did not feel 'as guilty' because at the funeral she found out 'Megan had tried to commit suicide before.'”

The Meiers family is destroyed. The parents have divorced and filed restraining orders against each other. Their other daughter (age 11) splits her time between the parents. The police in Dardenne Prairie are afraid of what will happen next. There is no law that covers what happened to Megan Meiers, so the citizens seem bent on taking justice into their own hands. The police are worried about public safety.

I’m more worried about Lori Drew’s soul.


To read more about Megan Meiers' death, go to
http://stcharlesjournal.stltoday.com/articles/2007/11/10/news/sj2tn20071110-1111stc_pokin_1.ii1.txt

7 comments:

Deb Baker said...

Joanna, this is so, so sad.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

I know. I just can't believe that a grown woman would think this was funny or clever or a good idea. That she wouldn't act like an adult, much less as a moral person. Dardenne Prairie is actually a suburb of St. Louis, so this is geographically close to home.

caryn said...

I read yesterday that the friends and neighbors held a candlelight vigil across the street from the home of the people who did this. I can't believe they haven't moved! It reminds me of a few years ago when a mother in Texas plotted to murder a girl who was in competition with her daughter for cheerleader.

Linda O. Johnston said...

How cruel of those neighbors! Knowing the poor child, they must have realized she was insecure. I'm horrified by this story too.
--Linda

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

I guess there are ongoing pranks and threats against the Drews. This is the sad way of it: the bad deed takes on a life of its own.

Bev (froggieb) said...

I hadn't heard of this and I live not to far from St. Louis. I am speechless. How can someone think this is okay to do?

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Bev,

There was a story today on NPR about this. Evidentally, Lori Drew was upset that the Meiers' family wouldn't open the door to her--so she went to the police to "give her side" of the report. Since that's public knowledge, her "side" has been widely shared--and oh, my gosh, it's hard to believe anyone could be so heartless.