In October of 2006, 13-year-old Megan Meier hung herself in her bedroom closet after a friend on MySpace began to send her negative messages.
Megan began speaking to a 16-year-old boy by the name of Josh Evans through the social networking site. The boy claimed he was new to the area, was home schooled and did not yet have a phone number.
After a couple of weeks, the messages to Megan turned nasty, with the last allegedly telling the girl, “the world would be a better place without you”. Meier was found later that day hanging in her bedroom closet.
It then emerged that “Josh” was a fictional character apparently made up by a neighbour living four doors away from the Meiers. Lori Drew allegedly made up the account to see if Megan would gossip about her own daughter (a former friend of Megan’s) to her new friend on MySpace.
According to the Chicago Tribune, a former employee of Drew’s, 19-year-old Ashley Grills admitted to setting up the account and sending some of the messages to the young girl. She claimed final message was sent by her but only in an attempt to cut contact with the girl as she felt the hoax had gone too far. Grills told Good Morning America that while she sent some of the messages, Drew was also responsible, having sent several messages herself. While Drew admits she knew of the account’s existence, she denies setting it up or sending any of the messages.
Lori Drew will be summoned to appear for arraignment in federal court in Los Angeles in June and is expected to surrender to authorities in St. Louis. Each count of the indictment carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.