Megan Meier: Mistaken Myspace Suicide
It was a bloggeran adult in distant Richmond, Va.who would pick up on the news of Megan Meier's death and shine a light on its alleged mastermind. The obituary, an online phonebook and local tax records helped an outraged Sarah Wells identify and locate Lori Drew. In November of 2007, the 45-year old housewife, married to a lawyer, published Drew's name which early reports had omitted, on her blog, amid talk of politics and cats, video games and television. Anonymous commentators would then add Curt Drew's name and their address. Other independent Internet muckrakers supplied pictures, mapsand plenty of blame and hostility.
The Meiers engaged, perhaps understandably, in an open feud with the family they believe was responsible for their daughter's death. Smashing the foosball table that the Drews had asked them to hide until Christmas didn't provide much catharsis in the immediate aftermath of the counselor's office revelation, and ongoing angry words fired from the driveway weren't enough. Ron allegedly tore up the Drews' lawn with his truck, and Tina began following Lori as she sought to sign up clients for the coupon book that the Drews published, telling local business owners of the Drews' involvement in Megan's death.
But the Meiers didn't stop there; the internet became a second front. Tina and Ron lobbied for more effective anti-cyberstalking laws. They were successful. In 2007 Dardenne Prairie passed an electronic harassment act, and the state of Missouri is reviewing state laws; other localities are following suit.
Strangers hacked the Drews' voicemail and posted YouTube videos of the family. Unknown parties threw a brick threw their window and shot their house with a paintball gun. And someone started www.Meganhaditcoming.comand made it look like Lori Drew was behind the site, using the innocent girl already in her grave to continue the vendetta. The Drews withdrew their daughter from school and are reportedly afraid to go to their own mailbox.
Lori Drew's trial should be an interesting one and it will certainly provoke another online firestorm: an adult has been accused of an abuse of the Internet leading to the death of a child. An earlier case in Alaska has demonstrated the difficulties of reaching satisfactory legal resolutions in such cases.