On the afternoon of October 16, 2006, Tina Meier discovered her daughter Megan hanging in her bedroom closet at the family‘s Missouri home, the result of a horrific suicide attempt. Despite efforts to revive the teen, Megan would pass away the following day, just three weeks shy of her fourteenth birthday.
It would later be uncovered that Megan, who had struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts since the third grade, was the victim of an online hoax concocted by a former friend, her mother and a family associate. Together, the trio created a faux MySpace account under the guise of an attractive 16-year-old named “Josh Evans,” which they used to befriend – and later betray – Megan. It was “Josh’s” cruel words on October 16 that drove Megan to the brink of suicide; Tina Meier discovered her daughter less than 30 minutes later.
Lori Drew, the mother of Megan’s former friend, was convicted on violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in 2008, but her conviction was later overturned on appeal. Neither Drew’s daughter nor the family employee were ever prosecuted in connection with Megan’s death.
Tina Meier founded the Megan Meier Foundation in December of 2007. As part of her work with the organization, Tina travels the country as a keynote speaker addressing the issues of bullying and cyberbullying. She also worked closely with Missouri government officials – including Senator Scott Rupp and then-Governor Matt Blunt’s Internet Task Force – to help pass Senate Bill 818, state legislation which amended harassment and stalking laws to include electronic communication. The bill took effect in August 2008.
Tina kindly spoke with me on January 26 to discuss Megan’s story, the legal-related frustrations she and the Meier family experienced following her daughter’s death and the creation of the Megan Meier Foundation.
(Special thanks to Alex King. Photos courtesy of the Megan Meier Foundation)
Please click on the “Play” icon below to hear the interview: