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May 10, 2023 76 mins

Our last episode featured the tragic death of Megan Meier, which became the biggest scandal MySpace would ever face. In this bonus episode, Joanne wanted to share our full interview with Megan's mother, Tina. Tina told us more about Megan's life, the trial, and the work of the Megan Meier Foundation. Since 2007, the MMF has worked to end bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide. 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:09):

Speaker 2 (00:10):
This is an iHeart original content warning. This episode discusses
cyberbullying and suicide. In our last episode of Made Accounts,
we spoke with Tina Meyer, mother of Megan Meyer and
the founder of the Megan Meyer Foundation. It was an
incredibly moving episode and we had a great deal of

interest in hearing more from Tina, so here's a bonus
episode the full interview with Tina Meyer.

Speaker 1 (00:42):
Megan was from the moment she was born, the kid
that just moved NonStop and was always curious about things,
wanted to know about things. She loved pleasing people. She
liked doing things for people, making them happy, you know,
when Megan, you know, some of the things when Megan

was growing up, she really struggle with the way she
looked compared to other girls, So her self esteem, really
she struggled quite a bit with that. She always compared
herself that the other girls were thinner, or if the
other girls that she thought were prettier. And you know,
no matter how many times I would say, honey, you're

beautiful the way you are, we're all different. Megan, you know,
she struggled with that, and so she would always then
try to really kind of show so much friendship to people.
I think it's almost like she wanted them to those
those popular kids, to really just be friends with her.
But in between, she would have these parts of her

when she would just finally relax and be okay with
who she was. She had this amazing sense of humor.
She could make me laugh till my tears rolling down
my face. It didn't matter if I was in the store,
if I was driving, where I was at. She was
so funny. And you know, she loved scary movies. She

loved music, all kinds of music. She liked all American rechecks.
She loved bow Wow, she loved Beyonce, She loved so
many different artists back in the day. Hip hop was
definitely one of her biggest things she loved. She had

a kind of a mixture of where she was very
girly girly, but then she also could take a worm
off of a hook, where like I could never do
something like that. She had this mixture. But she liked
lipgloss and eyeliner and straightening her hair, and she was

just this really cool, great kid. I mean, on top
of everything else, she was great. Her laughter to me
was like what I miss one of the biggest things
I miss about her as her laughter.

Speaker 2 (03:13):
Do you remember what age she started worrying about her looks?
Do you remember that transition? Oh?

Speaker 1 (03:18):
Yeah, kindergarten was when Megan noticed the other girls Megan was.
She looked like she was in second grade. You know,
she was taller, not overweight, but she was not tiny
and petitue. And so you know, when she's started kindergarten,
these girls she noticed sitting next to her, their legs

were smaller or they weren't as tall, and she instantly,
you know, said their mom, they're prettier than me, They're
skinnier than me, and and was really focusing on that
a lot. And you know, I struggled with weight my
whole life, and I never wanted that for her. And

so we talked more about being happy with who you
are and being healthy, you know, and not We didn't
talk about diets. We didn't talk about any of that.
And it was really hard seeing her struggle through that.

Speaker 2 (04:13):
I imagine if it started that young, it would have
been you might have noticed more of it as she
got older.

Speaker 1 (04:21):
Oh, absolutely, it only intensified the older making. God, you know,
when kids are in first grade, second grade and third grade,
they start figuring out, you know, what girls like what boys,
and what boys like what girls, And you know, even
though it seems very innocent, which it is at that

time for a girl who is struggling with her self esteem,
trying to figure out how to fit that mold, and
when she doesn't fit that mold, really struggling with it.
And she struggled quite a bit. I tried getting her
involved in extracurricular activities because I thought, you know, I

knew that maybe if she got involved something else outside
of school, she could have a different, you know, feeling
connection where she didn't feel it was all focused on that.
But Megan was diagnosed in third grade with attention deficit
disorder and also depression. So we knew that she would

she would start something and then she would kind of
get bored of it very quickly. So we kind of
ran through quite a few activities in third, fourth and
fifth grade that Megan would start and then be like, eh,
now this isn't for me.

Speaker 2 (05:39):
Do you remember when she started using the computer? Was
that was there an age when you got a computer
or how did that transition happen?

Speaker 1 (05:47):
So with computers, I was a realistic agent so I
definitely had to have a computer, and we had the old, big, bulky,
huge monitor top stairs where I had an office area,
and the girls had a big playroom downstairs that was
a finished basement, and then we also had a laptop,

and you know, the girls would play some games or
different things on there. But really when Megan started with
wanting to have a MySpace account was when she was
going into eighth grade, and you know, I was a
nervous wreck about it. I monitored everything that they did

so and I also watched the news. I watched twenty
twenty and how to Catch a Predator, So you know,
my fear was sexual predators on top of the fact
that I had a kid who had struggled for so
long with her self esteem and self worth that I
was worried that they could somebody could say something nice

to Megan and you know, get her to meet them
at the mall or go to the movies, and I
was just those are things that I was always concerned with.

Speaker 2 (07:06):
I have to imagine that must have been a little
bit confusing because my Space was still new, and I'm
sure you understood there wouldn't have been chaperones or teachers
necessarily that were monitoring these groups. What did you understand
of MySpace at that time and how involved were you
with her online interactions.

Speaker 1 (07:25):
So the first time I found out, actually prior to
her asking for MySpace, was Megan and her friend had
spent the night at my cousin's house my aunt and cousin,
and my cousin was searching on history after Megan spent
the night and saw that Megan and her friend had

created a fake MySpace account with a different person's picture
on there and we're talking to people. I was horrified.
I mean it felt at that time for me, I
was so upset. I'm thinking, why would she do that?
And you know, after I talked to her about it,

it was her and her friend Sarah, had created this account.
They found a picture of a really pretty girl because
they didn't think they were pretty, and they wanted to
talk to boys. And I found out that Megan had
actually was talking to these boys and showed them a
real picture of her and said it's not this picture

really isn't me. But at that point in time, it
made me realize that they can have access anywhere like
this is really scary, and you know, even putting her
picture out there, not knowing who the other person was,
you know. So I tried explaining to Megan about, you know,

we need to get the shut down. This is not
okay to put a fake picture out there. I understand
that you finally told them that this is really you,
but that's not the way it's going to work. Megan
begged me to not cut her off from these two
boys that she had talked to. I really had a

hard time because I needed to know that these boys
were real. So I told her that I would. I
needed their phone numbers, their parents' number that if they
were going to have like a you know, discussion where
they could talk or whatever, I needed to know. And
I did talk to both of the parents and said,

here's where it's at. Here's what my concerns are, Megan
is you know we monitor everything. Are you okay if
they talk every once in a while to make sure?
And I did get that okay, And so I told her,
you know, I will let you because I knew Megan.
If I didn't, Megan would find a way. Believe me,
she would have found a way. And so I had

to at least do my due diligence of trying to
protect her, and so they did. They did talk after that.
That was the very first in action. And then when
Megan asked about MySpace and wanting to be able to
have that MySpace again starting eighth grade, I instantly was like, no,

no way, no, you cannot have this, and she baked me,
and she wanted back. Then it was MySpace and ale
an instant messenger. Those were the two big things. And
I was like, Megan, you're not even old enough, like
you have to be fourteen years old. You're thirteen, going
to be turning fourteen in a few months. And she

baked me every single day. And I started looking into
what could I do? How could I allow her to
have it protect her, How could I do that at
the same time. And I came up with some rules,

and you know they would not work in today's world,
but the rules were. I said, Megan, here's the thing.
I will let you have the MySpace, but I have
the password only you do not have the password to
your account. The computers have to be in open spaces,

never allowed in. The laptop could not go into her bedroom.
I had to prove anything that went on her page.
And I also had to make sure that it had
to stay private. And I even purchased this program that
was called Watchwright way back in the day, and it

came in a disc in the mail and it would
monitor every instant message in every website that she visited.
So I told her about all these rules. I didn't
hide anything, and she was not too thrilled with me.
I can tell you. She told me that I was

a warden of a prison, that there was no other
parent as strict as I was. That it was pretty embarrassing.
And you know, I said, I get it. I do.
It's I'm not worried about you. I'm worried about other people.
And if we can agree on this, I will let

you create this account. You can add your friends and
it'll be fine. And that's really what we did.

Speaker 2 (12:34):
I could get a sense of her sense of humor
coming through those Yeah.

Speaker 1 (12:40):
Oh she was. She was something. She definitely did not
hold back. She definitely would tell me what she thought,
and a lot of it was humor or laughing at
me for being, you know, lame or something. She always
laughed at me.

Speaker 2 (12:57):
So she started talking to these two boys, and you
did get their phone their parents' phone numbers. At some point,
did you allow her to make friends more without getting
their parents' phone numbers, or what happened next.

Speaker 1 (13:12):
So when she created this new MySpace account, I sat there.
I was just fascinated, really how quickly they could build
these profiles with their you know, surveys and questionnaires and
blingy icons, and you know, they could do all of
these things and the layouts and everything that was a

part of it. I watched her a lot of times
and was just kind of amazed at how she knew
instantly how to do these things. And you know, once
she started building it, she added a lot of her
friends from her old school and friends from a new school.
And again, because I monitored it, I had to sign

her on, I had to log out any new friend
request that came in. I would you know, she would say, hey, Moms,
so and so, and I would say, great, go ahead
and add them. Well, the one day it was a
new boy by the name of Josh Evans who asked
to be friends with her. He was a good looking boy,

and Megan looked at me and She's like, mom, can
I add him please? He is so hot. I'm like,
And Megan used the word hot all the time, So
I said, Meg, who is he? Is he a friend
of a friend or how do you know him? She
goes like, Mom, I don't know. He's just hot. Please.
And I said, Megan, here's the thing. I will let

you add and but if there's anything negative, anything sexual,
he is deleted immediately. And she said, okay, I promise
so many people. And if I looked back, I would
think the same thing, like, lady, you're so protective, But
why would you do this? The reason is is that
I knew if I did not allow her to add somebody,

she was going to do it behind my back. She
would have went to a library, she would have went
to a friend's house. She would have created a fake one. Again,
I wouldn't know about it, because now she would know
how to erase all of her history and I wouldn't know.
So I thought, at least if I did it this way,
I could monitor it. If there's any issues, it would
be deleted. Well, Josh, she added Josh, and her and

Josh started talking and Josh told Megan, you know, she
come on out of the picture. She was beautiful and
had a beautiful smile, and she thought he was very cute,
and they just started talking back and forth. You know,
I was the mom who also would say, you cannot
put wear a T shirt that has what school you

go to? Do not put the school that you go to,
don't put the city that you live in, don't put
you know, if you're going to go somewhere, don't put
the mall you're going to. I was one of those
that always said, you know, we have to keep be
very carefully. You don't know who's on the other side.
And of course Megan would roll her eyes and give

me the hand of like, yeah, Mom, I got it.
I know. And that's how that friendship started with Josh Evans.

Speaker 2 (16:21):
What was your impression of Josh Evans when you came
across this account?

Speaker 1 (16:26):
So leary of Josh evans account, It just seemed it
was odd he came out of the blue. You know
what the thing is so that people understand is that
Megan had really between seventh and eighth grade, we switched
her to different schools, and she was now in a

different school and doing really, really well. Her self esteem
was starting to come back and blossom, and she was
hanging out with friends, girls and guys and just really
happy on the volleyball team. So she wasn't in this
place of where you know, Megan came home and her
only interaction socially was just online. That wasn't the case.

But Josh was a boy who you know said it
came from a single family home, moved into the area.
Of course, Megan had this huge heart, so when anybody
was struggling or gone through things, Megan would really feel bad.
You know, he would tell her again that she was pretty.

But it wasn't as if it was instantly like, oh,
this is you know, my boyfriend. Because I would always say, Meg,
you can't relationships online are not real relationships because you
truly don't know who the other person is. Right, we
can be whoever we want to be. And you know,

there was a time where Josh put Megan's picture on
his profile, like a big picture and said this is
my girlfriend. And I looked at it and I was like,
whoa Megan, tell him to get that picture off of there.
You know, that's not okay. I don't know what's going on.
And it really got to the point where he only

had a couple of pictures besides his profile, and I said, Meg,
I don't know this. Something doesn't seem right, And she
was like, what do you mean, mom? And I said,
I don't even know if these pictures. I wonder if
there's a way to find out if these pictures are real.
And she had a boy who she was in her class,

who she said, Mom, I know who I can talk to.
He's really good at computers. He could figure it out.
So she messaged him and said, hey, my mom is
freaked out over this boy, and could you take a
look at these pictures and do they seem real? The photos?
And the boy messaged her back and said, yeah, they do,

but there's something creepy about this, and Megan said, mom,
see the pictures are real. Well, me being the mom,
I was, I called the police and I wanted to
know can I find out if a MySpace profile is

real or not? And they said, you know, you need
to go to call cyber crimes. So then I called
cyber crimes and they had said, you know, has anybody
tried soliciting is there? Or have you met somebody any
of those? I said no, it's just something doesn't feel right. Well, listen, lady,

we don't have enough people there to be able to
monitor all of these accounts. Because this was so brand
new at the time, I said, okay. Well, Megan then
told the boy that my mom called the popos to
be able to see if this account is real or not.

And then the response back from Josh Evans was I
honestly thought the kid would have came back and said, Wow,
your mom is a crazy bitch, like what is wrong
with your mom? Something's not right? Why would she do that? Instead,
it came back with, well, your mom is really just

trying to look out for you. I thought, okay, that
doesn't seem right. That does not blend well. And I
said that to me and I'm like, something's not right Meg,
and she's like, Mom, you know you're just overreacting. Well,

one day Megan went to school and she'd had an
instant message and I had logged on to do some work. Well,
when I logged on, it pained a message and it
said hey, are you home? And I looked at it
and it was from Josh Evans, and I said, you

know what, this is actually Megan's mom. And you know,
I really think that you know, why don't you? I
think it would be better off if you didn't talk
to Megan anymore. You're two years older. Than her, and
you know, I think it would be better. Yeah, I understand, Yeah,

I get it. You know, I thought for sure they
would back off. Nope, not a chance. Continued to talk
to her, and I told Megan about it, and she
was horrified that I communicated to Josh while she was
at school, and she made me promise, Mom, that is embarrassing.

Please don't comment to anything until I'm home. I said, Okay,
I will make the deal with you, because again I
was trying to keep this balance between her trust and
her not going and make creating a fake account where
I didn't know, but balancing that, so I said, I
promise I will not open I will not do anything.

We'll turn the notifications off that way, it will only
be opened up when you get home. And then things
kind of for a while, just you know, went on.
And now it had been about five to six weeks,
and that's when Megan was getting ready for her birthday.

It was a Sunday, October fifteenth of two thousand and six.
Megan had two volleyball games that day and that evening
she asked to sign on because she wanted to fill
out her birthday invitations and was going to get names
and talk to her friends. She got a message from
Josh Evans, which was completely out of the blue, that said,

I don't want to be friends with you anymore. You're
not a nice person. And Megan said, Mom, what do
you think that's about. I'm like, honey, I have no
idea none. You know, people have bad days. Just send
him a message, see what he says. She sent a
message and said what are you talking about? Where'd you
get this from? And there was no response. She was

talking to her other friends and she went to check.
Still no response. She sent another message and said, what
are you talking about? And I said, Meg, it's late.
You've got to sign off. And that's when I had
her sign off. The next day, Megan went to school.
She was in a great mood, handed at her invitations.

I picked her up. All of her friends were coming
to her birthday party, and then she asked to sign
on to MySpace. Because back then we didn't have the
phones that had instant access, it was still dial up.
So I told her I would sign her on, but
she only had a few minutes because I had to
get her sister off the bus. The message when I

signed her on came in late the night before from
Josh Evans to her saying, you heard me, no one
likes you, no one wants to be friends with you.
And Megan, you know, it wasn't this horrible message. It
was just Megan was confused. She was like, I am
nice to people unless there mean to me. I don't
know what you're talking about. And now all of a sudden,

the messages started going back and forth, and I said, Meg, listen,
you've got to sign off your sister's home. I've got
to go. Megan said, Mom, please let me finish this
last message, and I will. And typically I always made
sure she signed off, but it was raining really hard
that day. I had to go grab her sister and
I left. I called Megan two different times from the

orthodonist office. Both times she was crying. The last time
she was sobbing where I couldn't even understand her, and
I said, please get off the MySpace. I came home,
Megan was still sobbing at the computer and I said,
let me sit down. And I was tired and frustrated
as the mom I had been running all day. My

other daughter was crying because her braces were tightened. Megan
was crying because of this, there was still dinner, homework, showers,
all of that. And when I sat down and looked
at the computer, there were messages that went from Josh
to Megan, Megan to Josh. Now Josh got two other
girls involved, so now there were other girls involved in
the mix. The messages that went back and forth were

you know, Megan Meyer's a whoreor Megan Meyer's a fat ass.
Those were about the nicest messages and they used first
and last names then. But then Megan was defending herself.
So now Megan had reached out to a couple of
her friends on private messaging saying, hey, will you help
me with this person? Do you see what they're doing?

And I said, Megan, why, I've told you THEO of
words will never work. I told you to sign off.
If you could would have signed off, we could have
dealt with this differently. But it's turned into this huge explosion.
I said, mag you're none of these things that they're
calling you. And she looked at me and she said, Mom,

it's going to everybody in my old school, everybody at
my new school. No one's going to believe me. She said,
you're supposed to be my mom. You're supposed to be
on my side, and she took off running. One of
her friends called the home phone, and Megan picked it
up and was crying and just said I have to
talk to you later, and she ran upstairs to her room.

I tried looking at a little bit more of what happened,
but I went upstairs into the kitchen, and her dad
came downstairs and said, what is going on. He started
cooking dinner, and we were talking about what was going on,
and he didn't like anything to do with her taking photos,

anything on the MySpace, anything to do with any of that.
And you know, he was frustrated with why she was upset,
because he thought none of this should happen. Probably twenty
minutes later, I just had a horrible feeling that ran
through my entire body. I stopped in mid sentence and

ran up to her room. I opened the door and
I found Megan hanging in her closet. I screamed. Her
dad came upstairs. I tried finding the phone. The weird
part of it was is that as I was trying
to dial at her home phone to nine one one,

my younger daughter Allison was calling to see if dinner
was ready to come home because she was across the
street and I was frantically screaming to hang up the phone,
hang up the phone, and I had to run around
and find my cell phone a call, and as I
was dialing and calling nine one one on, Megan's dad

was giving her CPR and Alison ran home in the
midst of all of it, and we screened at her
to go get our neighbors. The Megan was not breathing.
The paramedics arrived, They got Megan's heart started and got
her to start breathing with assistance, and there was a

small glimmer of hope of maybe maybe she's going to
make it through.

Speaker 2 (28:39):
I'm terribly sorry about your loss. That's just devastating, and
I appreciate all of these memories that you shared with
us to bring her to life and let us remember
what she was like. I wondered, you know what, what
were those first few days, few weeks without Megan, Like.

Speaker 1 (29:03):
You know, there was when Megan first was taken to
the hospital, she was transferred. They could not airlift her
because of the weather, and she was transported by a
pediatric team to Children's Hospital. But she lived for twenty

four hours and it got to the point where nothing
was working. They felt that there was a couple of
ups and downs where they thought maybe, but her blood pressure, everything,
nothing they did was working. And the final piece was

do you want to put her on life support? And
her dad and I both agreed that I didn't want
her living like that. Megan was too full of life
that I couldn't do that to her. And you know,
leaving the hospital with her there was it felt like

it wasn't like this was not happening. We donated our
heart valves, but going home, I couldn't go back to
our house. We went and stayed at my mom's house.
And I think it was trying to figure out, like
how how does this say happen? I mean, I don't

know how to live without her. I mean, my kids
are my entire life, and she was such an amazing
kid that I didn't I didn't want to live. I
didn't want to be alive anymore. I begged every night
to please take me. Even though I had another daughter

that I loved with everything, it was so much pain
to try to figure out how to breathe or how
to function without her. It's still to this day, you know,
There's days that it feels like was she even real?
You know, if I see her on TV, or you know,

somewhere out of the country has her in educational books
or somebody tells me something, it's kind of like, how
was she real? And then other days it could feel
like it just happened. And you know, I think a
lot of the weeks after it was trying to figure
out like, who was this Josh Evans, Like what happened?

Was it a scared kid that because Josh Evans account
deleted the night that Megan took her own life, it
started peeling away in pieces, So when you closed the account,
it didn't just poof gone, It started peeling away layers.
And I couldn't figure out, like what happened? I was like,

is it a kid that was scared? Or was it
an adult? And now that the Josh Evans photo was gone,
I sat there for hours throughout the night, throughout the day, searching, searching,
searching for like who was this person? Where did they go?

What happened? And no matter what I did, I couldn't
find anything, like it just all disappeared. And it was
Thanksgiving weekend and we had started going to a Greek

support group where I went, and I was trying to
get my husband to go for other parents who had
lost children's suicide, and I was going to go to
one that weekend, and we got a call from a
neighbor that I didn't know very well, saying that she
asked if Ron and I would come to a meeting

that day to a counselor's office, that she had to
talk to me about Megan's death. And I was kind
of like taken back and almost a little bit frustrated, thinking,
I really don't know you. You're calling me on this weekend.
I'm going to a grief support group. I don't know

what to tell you. I don't want to sit there
and listen to you asking questions about Megan's death, because no,
I'm sorry, I'm going to this meeting. And I remember
telling Ron about it Megan's dad and he didn't know.
And then we got another call, and this call was
from a man that lived in our subdivision who was

a counselor who did talk to Ron and I during
these times, and said, I know that this woman, Michelle
Mulford called and you decline to go, but Tina, it
is really important for you guys to attend this meeting.
Do you have any other you know, your parents, anybody

that can be there to support you guys. I'm like, okay,
you know, I was frustrated because I was desperately searching
for support and I wanted this grief support group to
give me a moment of being able to breathe without
wanting to die. And we called Ron's mom, I called

my aunt, I called some other people, and we went
to this meeting in o'fallen, Missouri. And we walked in
and it was an accounselor's office, and when they all
had chairs in a circle, and it was the mom,
Michelle Malford. It was another woman who was a counselor.

It was Jim who was the counselor in our subdivision.
It was Tina Laraghan, who was a school counselor where
Megan went to school before. And I walked in and
I said, so you're going to tell me that the
Josh Evans account was fake? Is that what you're going
to tell me? And Michelle Malford shook her head and

said yes. And then they told me that Michelle Malford
lived across the street from LORI Drew and in our
subdivision and said that Lori Drew, her daughter, Sarah and
Ashley Girls, an eighteen year old, created this fake MySpace

account as a hoax to be able to trick Megan.
The reason was because Megan and her daughter Sarah their
friendship dissolved when Megan switched to different schools. They heard
that Megan had called her daughter a lesbian. Megan was

not perfect. I don't know if Megan did or didn't.
If I would have known, I would have said, come on,
you know how it feels for people to call you names,
or to be mean and hurtful. You don't have to
be friends with people, but just don't be mean. But
I never had that opportunity to talk to her. Michelle

Malford found out the night that Megan took her own
life because her daughter was friends with Sarah and would
go to religion classes together and soccer practice together, and
Laurie Drew and the daughter told her about the fake
account and how funny it was. So the night these

things get really kind of confusing. But the night that
the ambulance arrived and Megan took her own life, Laurie Drew,
the mom called across the street and asked Michelle Mulford
to talk to her daughter and told the daughter to
delete that account, to keep her mouth shut, not say

a word, and the daughter started crumbling Over the next
day found out what had happened, and from that point on,
the mom kept pressuring Laurie Drew to please come forward
and talk to us. She contacted a church, she contacted

the police department, contacted the prosecuting contacted anybody and everybody
had said, this family needs to know what happened, and
this was her final solution to try to do something
so that we knew. And when we found out, I
think other people now there was calls made to our

other family, and I think they were worried that Ron
was going to go down and kill them because these
this family lived four uses down the street. I think
Ron was more in shock, where I was so angry.
All I thought about doing was going and ripping them apart.

That's all I wanted to do. And when we drove
back home, we had family and neighbors kind of blocking
the street so that we could not go down to
the Drew's house. Lord Drew's house, and we pulled in
the driveway and Everybody was hysterical, our family, our neighbors,

everybody was sobbing. Hysterical. Emotions were everywhere everybody. From one
person that would say no, don't go down there, the
other person would completely lose it and want to go
down there. And I tried running down there several times
and was held back. And then I remembered that Louri

Drew asked us to store a foosball table in the
garage for their kids for Christmas. So in between when
Megan took her own life and now I helped load
her kid's Christmas present covered it up in the garage
for her. This was also the same woman that when

after Megan died, we went and knocked on their door
and told Sarah because we wanted her to know, to
try to make sure she could be okay. Where they
came to Megan's wake in funeral, The same family that
invited us to Sarah's birthday party to come down to
their house to sing and have cake, which was three

days after Megan's birthday, to sit there and watch us
in absolute misery, and then to ask my younger daughter
Ellison to walk around with them on Halloween. The every
single emotion that I had realizing that they did nothing

but relish in the fact of watching our complete pain.
It sounds ridiculous now, but we grabbed the foosball table
and one of us had a sledgehammer, one of us
had an axe, and we destroyed the foosball table, put
it in the back of Ron's truck. The big cardboard box.

I spray painted Merry Christmas on it. We drove down
the street. We unloaded it all behind their van and
put the box there. Came back home and Laurie Drew,
her husband and Sarah Drew. They sent Sarah in front
of them, walked down the sidewalk with their hands in

the air of what's going on, what's happening? And they
had our neighbors went and told them if they knew
what was good for them, that they would leave and
go home. They sent them or Sarah Drew, the fourteen
year old now to our front door, to now on

our door to talk to us, and Ron told her
to go home, do not come back here again. Go home.
Louri Drew then called the police department to file charges
against us for destruction of personal property, and at that

time is when louri Drew told the police department, the
police officer in the police report why all of this
was happening, That she created a fake account to gain
Megan's confidence, to find out if Megan was talking about
her daughter behind her back, and that that is the

sole reason.

Speaker 2 (41:53):
I really cannot imagine that that grief and anger and
what you experienced. I wonder what was the search for accountability? Like,
what is accountability to you in circumstances like this.

Speaker 1 (42:12):
You know, there's a fine line between a normal mental
state and being absolutely losing your mind when these things happen,
you do not think clearly. I mean, let alone a
daughter taking your own life, but then this on top

of it. You know, there's no processing this. There's no
just going to a counselor you know, meditation. There's no pill,
no nothing that is going to make any of this
ever seem okay, and so completely irrational thinking. The irrational

thinking went from vengeance. I wanted them to feel what
I felt. I wanted to go down there at that time.
That was the only way I saw justice to me
was vengeance. I wanted the family to be tied up,

and I wanted their daughter to have to slowly take
her last breath and then watch and feel the pain
that we felt. That's what I wanted them to feel.
And then I would have because I vocalized it, you know,
of course, and I had everybody saying, you cannot touch them,

you cannot do anything. You have another daughter. And I
would literally go back home and pray at night to
give me the strength to not go down to hurt them,
because I would see them driving on the streets taking
their kids to school, acting like life was just normal again.
And when I you know, I don't hide anything. I

am very transparent. There were when I talk about losing
your mind. When I saw them drive down the street,
I would try to run them off the road, like
literally try to run them off the road. Everything inside
of me. You could feel normal for a second, and
then I would see them and it would take over me,

this rage of how dare you just go on about
your life when you've done all this. I had to
start journaling to write down everything that I felt. I
had to figure out some way to get this gone.

And we then went and met with an attorney I
used to work for at a law firm, and so
I knew he was one of the top criminal attorneys.
We met with him my aunt. By this point in time,
my aunt had a banner at the front of our
subdivision because there's one way in and one way out,

and I was a real estate agent at the time,
so we painted signs that said Louri Drew is a
murderer and lives down the street. If you want to know,
ask us. When we went to the law firm, he
quickly advised us to pull up the signs, to not
talk to anybody about it, and got us in touch

with the FBI. That's when the FBI investigation started. And
the hope was at that time that if there was
not going to be vengeance and they were not going
to feel the pain, then there needed to be justice.
Something needed to be done, because I didn't want another
family going through this, and we quickly realized that Louri

Drew enjoyed talking to the FBI agent. The FBI agent
came and took our computer and then they said, listen,
I'm not sure what she'll do, but we're going to
go ask her for her computer so that we could
start tracing this. Laurie made them pancakes. Laurie enjoyed talking
about what happened. Didn't feel really that she did anything

that wrong and gave them her computer. And during this time,
the eighteen year old girl I got. You know, I
was able to talk to her because she begged for forgiveness,
and I told her if she wanted to do something right,

that she needed to go talk to the attorneys. She
needed to go give a statement, tell the truth. That's
all I wanted her to do. She did do that,
and you know, this was a long drawn out process.
It was probably six months the prosecuting or the FBI investigated.
When they came back, they were able to trace that

every message that was going back and forth instant message
in my Space, every single one was going from the
Druze house to our house, except for one that came
from the one girl across the street because she knew
the password, and she's the one that sent You're not
a nice person, because she was upset that Megan was

talking to a boy that she liked. The FBI tried
to get her prosecuted here. They said that there were
no laws. They looked at child endangerment, they'd looked at
child stalking or stalking, they looked at harassment. We didn't
have any laws that were on the books. About Internet,

you know, social media, any of those things. The FBI
took it all the way up to Washington. There was
even a bill, the Violence Against Women's Act. I think
it was the I think that's when Bush put that
in signing that embedded in there. We pulled it out.
Embedded in there was is these types of Internet crimes.

I called the White House. My aunt called the White House.
We made copies of it. We took it to every
jurisdiction we could think of, and nobody, they felt, no
one could prosecute it. And I thought, what are we
supposed to do now? And I remember the one FBI

agent who was phenomenal. His name was Billy, and he said, Tina,
don't give up, don't give up, get the laws changed.
I thought, okay, great, how do you do that? I
have no idea and we I thought about it, and

at this time I was also going through a divorce.
You know. The thing is, when you go through these
traumatic experiences, many times marriages don't make it. So it
was a lot of different moving parts. And my aunt
saw a newspaper article about MySpace and contacted the journalist

Steve Pokin said, will you talk to my niece she
wants to get the laws changed. And this guy, Steve
Pokin from a local journal, came and did the story,
went to my old house where Ron was still living.
Ron gave his side. They published the article, but they

did not because I thought, this finally is going to
get Lori Drew's name out there, right, This finally is
going to get everybody to see because in between this time,
it's about a year, there were people that thought that
we just were trying to blame people for Megan's death,
like we were trying to push blame on somebody else,
and really it must have been us. And I wanted to,

like clear Egan's name. I wanted people to know, and
he refused, or his publisher refused to release Lorie's Drew name,
Lori Drew's name. I was not happy, and I told
him how unhappy it was about it. You know, I
get why they have to do certain things through protection

of children, and I get all of that now, but
I was not happy. But the reality is that one
newspaper article that went out got the attention of a
blogger out of state. The blogger out of state contacted
the journalist and started pushing this out and all of

the things that I ever wanted to be able to
do to the Drews. Everybody, they all did this. I
mean they people that found out about this and read
about it and heard about it. Because now it's now
it's on news, you know, new in newspapers and on blogs.

And that was even before the big viral, you know
where everything went viral. Now, you know, we had new
stations and national media and all of that were starting
to come about wanting to hear about the story. You know,
back then, when a local news station we called them
about the story, they said, we don't do suicide, especially

on youth. We don't do those stories. Now, people in
the out that I didn't know, you know, we're able.
They hacked into Lori Drew's home phone number, they hacked
into her cell phone number, They contacted every single business
that she did business with. Her business got shut down.

They I mean, they did things that I was like because,
again to some people, this may sound horrible. I wanted
their life to be a living health. I wanted them
to live of the hell that I was living. And
so I remember I went on Bill O'Reilly one time

a show and he was like, don't you feel like
these vigil aunties. Don't you feel bad for the DRUS
because you know they've done all of these things to them.
Don't you feel bad? I was like, are you kidding me?
I'm not doing it. First of all, this is the

public opinion. What they did was so incredibly wrong, and
it's really hard for people to understand. How could a
mom be involved in doing this. We get it more
when kids do this, right, But when a mom does this,
I'm sorry. They're all still alive so she has to
figure out a new business. You want me to feel

sorry for sorry, I don't. They have to move. You
want me to feel sorry about that. I don't. No,
I don't feel sorry. And you know I thought, at
least at that point, I thought, Okay, this is we
got the laws changed in the state of Missouri, and
this is where we need to go. And then I

get a call from the LA Times and they said,
are you aware about the indictment of Lori Drew? And
I like, what, I have no clue what you're talking about.
They said, well, a federal grand jury indicted Lori Drew.
I was like, are they're talking about indicting Lori Drew?

And I said okay, I don't know anything about it.
So I got off the phone and one of the
producers from the Today Show called and said, Tina, can
you get on a plane in an hour. I'm like,
I am back over at my old house. I am
in the process of cleaning out Megan's room. It was

horribly hard to do. My hair is in a ponytail
and sweat, and so you want me to get on
a plane. I'm like, yes, you've got to get in
a plane. You've got to go, You've got to go.
And I'm thinking every time that when we started this
in the beginning, I remember my aunt when I would

be like, I can't do another interview. I cannot do
another TV show. I cannot do this anymore. I'm exhausted.
She would say, Tina, what if there's another Megan out there?
What if there's another you out there? And so every
time these things would happen, I would be okay, like
I have to And you know, I would get comments

from people that would say, oh, she loves the attention.
She must be getting paid a lot of money. You know,
you're how sick are you to be getting paid? In
Megan's death, I thought, do people have any First of all,
my eyes were swollen half the time because I cried
all the time. You do not get paid for any
of these interviews. They pay for your flight in a

hotel s day. You get up at four in the morning,
they smack makeup on you, You're on there for three
minutes and you go home. It's exhausting. I did it
because that's every single time, even still to this day.
It's if there's another Megan out there listening, if there's
a parent, an educator, somebody out there listening, that's what

we have to do. And when I flew back Good
Morning America producers were there at the house filming something
and I got a call from the US attorney at
the time, Thomas O'Brien, and he said he wanted to
inform me that Lori Drew was officially charged on four counts.

The federal grand jury did indict her. She faced up
to twenty years in prison, and that they are going
to keep in contact with me. The Victims Advocate Group
would be in contact with me, but they are planning
on going to trial. And I was shocked. I didn't
you know. I told him, thank you, and Thomas O'Brien

flew out to Saint Louis at the FBI's office and
I met with him and he said that when they
found out about the story, that because my Space's headquarters
were based in Los Angeles, that he felt it was
such an injustice that she was not charged. And when

they found out, they knew it was a long shot,
but when they found out that they could indict her
and she faced for violating terms of service the different charges,
that they felt that it was worth taking a stand
to do this. And I will tell you Mark Krause
was another prosecuting attorney there. I will never be able

to say how greatful I am for all of the
endless hours, the hard work that they all did, knowing
that it was a long shot, but standing up for
the rights of kids all over the country that struggled
through this because it was the first case that was
able to take a stand. And now the ACLU and
other people coming in and saying, we can say whatever

we want online, Well, can you really say whatever you want?
Is it protected speech? And so you know, even though
eventually with the trial it turned out she was you know,
charged with three counts, the judge ultimately overturned the case
and said too many people lie on social media would

be unconstitutional. And I cried. The prosecute attorney's cried, Our
whole family cried afterwards because it was so much work,
and it was Thomas O'Brien cross examined Sarah Drew the child,
the fourteen year old, and it was the first time
in thirty years that a US attorney did any type

of cross examination in a trial. That's how much it meant.
And I realized at that point in time that our foundation,
because I started that in two thousand and seven, that
looking at Lori Drew and realizing the vengeance was gone,

Really it was more of justice, And even though she
didn't face jail time, justice was now people knowing about
the story, now talking to their kids, now making changes,
laws being changed, And for me, Megan was so much
more than this angered part, this piece that happened to her.

And if I can honor her life to help others
and parents and kids, that's what I was going to
do and it's what we still do today this many
years later.

Speaker 2 (59:03):
Now, did Laurie Drew ever apologize to you?

Speaker 1 (59:08):
That is the number one question that I get asked
from usually adults and kids. Laurie Drew wrote a letter,
a handwritten letter that I still have that stated that
this was after Megan died and after we found out
they were involved. Said that she understands that we blame
her for Megan's death, but that she would really like

to talk to us and explain us to us about
their side of the story that they felt that was
really important at that time. There was not a word
in any language that that woman could have said that
would have made a difference. She had had six weeks
in between us finding out to have some remorse to

do the right thing. She didn't. So it was best
for me, honestly, to not put myself in that place
to talk to her because nothing good would have came.

Speaker 2 (01:00:04):
I wondered, if you have a little bit more time,
I would like to ask a few questions about your foundation,
And you said you started in two thousand and seven.
How did this come about?

Speaker 1 (01:00:14):
So that aunt of mine, who is like my second mom, said,
you know, what are you going to do now? And
I said, I'm not going to be a real estate agent.
I don't care if the house falls down. Like my priorities,
everything that I valued in life has gone. So I

knew I wanted to help other kids. I didn't know
how to do that or what that looked like. And
my aunt said, so we're going to do it, and
she got a federal identification number, we came up with
the name, we registered that. She gave me the first
hundred dollars to open up the checking account for the foundation,

and she found an attorney that would help draft our
bylaws and incorporation and get everything done. And you know,
the Megan Meyer Foundation, and the mission is to support
and inspire actions to end bullying, cyber bullying, and suicide.
What that looked like beyond that, I had not a clue.

But I started getting calls now that everything was out there.
I got calls from different places, and one of them
was an insurance company for school districts, and they said, well,
you come speak to superintendents about your story and at
this huge conference. And I said, sure, I don't know

what I'm going to talk about or how do I
get this out? And I went. It was about a
year after Megan passed away, and I went to the
conference and I think I cried half the time through it.
But there's like three or four hundred superintendents for schools,
and I told Megan's story, and once I got done,

I started getting superintendents. You know, will you come speak
at our school? How much will it cost? I was like,
I don't know. Three hundred and fifty dollars. I don't know.
I just pulled it out of my head. It's like,
you know, four hour drive. I'm like, uh, sure, three
hundred and fifty dollars. I don't know. And I started

going and speaking to schools, and you know, this time,
my aunt thankfully was letting me work at her office
while I was doing this, so I could at least
get paid because I wasn't getting paid through the foundation.
We started in two thousand and seven and I didn't
get paid until like twenty eleven. So anytime we made

any money, it just went straight into the foundation. And
you know, we started a golf tournament to try to
raise funds. And it started really with organically, with going
to schools and speaking. And the first time, several times
I did it, it was is Megan's story, but it was
also about thinking how you treat other people. And then

as time went on and I was able to sit
down and talk to kids after speaking and kids from
all walks of life about what they're feeling, what they're
going through, I was able to then start incorporating different
pieces into it and talking about what bullying is and
cyber bullying, and yes, talking about suicide, but a lot

of it is empathy driven, trying to get kids to
understand what it would feel like in another person's shoes.
And you know, I still travel and speak today, and
each and every time it is it takes, you know,

it takes a piece. You know, it's emotionally and told
because when I do it, my whole purpose of doing
it is too if I can connect with one kid,
if I walk out of here and I've just helped
one kid in a school of five thousand, and I
can help them that it was worth it coming. And
so you try to give it everything that you've got

to try to make that difference. And you know, today
the Foundation now we have done interactive workshops. We you know,
have a counseling and support center that we provide counseling
in schools and in our offices. We have six contracted
therapists and we you know, work with families all over

the world that are struggling with their kids and we listen, support,
provide them resources, guidance and helping them, and so, you know,
we have a long way to go. It's still even
though we've accomplished so much. We want to make sure
that there are supports in every single school, and we
want to make sure that when a parent is scared

and doesn't understand that they have supports and guidance and
to do. We want to make sure kids know that
people do care, that there is help there. And so
we're going to continue to keep pushing and fighting every
single day to make sure that kids feel happy and
healthy and know that they're wanted and supported.

Speaker 2 (01:05:26):
Have you noticed any changes in the way people understand
or talk about cyber bullying since two thousand and seven.

Speaker 1 (01:05:33):
Oh yeah, there's a huge difference. In the beginning kids especially.
We have pre and post surveys that we do for schools,
and in the beginning it was kids were very much
more open. In middle school and high school, kids more
open to talk about yes, I've been bullied, Yes I've
witnessed bullying, yes, cyber bullying. And then it kind of

started tapering off where they didn't show that high percentage.
It was shifting and so we started asking open ended questions,
which was, you know, what do you wish adults knew
about your life? What do you wish like? Because I
kept hearing from them, adults don't get us, adults don't

understand adults, you know, So as I wanted that open
ended and you know, do you know of anybody you
or yourself that is in danger you're concerned about? We
asked those questions and that is when we started to
see that shift where they would say, nope, they do not,

you know, it's not happening to them. But then they
would start talking about it in open ended questions, right
because the change was they started hearing about it so
much that it needed to be these big, huge stories
online for them to feel like they were bullied or
cyber bullied. So they didn't realize that the constant name
calling really was bullying. They knew it wasn't okay, but

they didn't want to feel like they were a baby
and crying about it, you know, just suck it up,
and so they would then talk about it more in
the open ended questions about how it made them feel.
And even still today, the things that have shifted even
more so is that they will still talk about it,
but it's not quite so much about bullying and cyberbullying.

It's more about how they cannot take the pressure, how
people are cruel. They talk about their anxiety, their stress,
that a lot of things that are going on in
their home life that students don't get it. They don't
understand how heart hurtful or harmful they can be. That

they don't think adults get it. And so we're really
seeing a lot of them talking about that social and
emotional piece, how they're really struggling and feeling like they
don't fit in, like there's not a place in this
world for them. And so it's really really hard to
read those You know, your heart hurts when you see

that because you want them to know that they matter.

Speaker 2 (01:08:14):
Yeah, and I'm sure a lot of parents turn to
you for advice on how to protect their children from
what exists on the internet. And what kind of advice
would you give someone who is worried at this moment?

Speaker 1 (01:08:30):
You know, I wish there was a perfect solution. If
you do a B C or D, this is what
is going to protect them, But the reality is there's not.
So what we talk about, if there's a way is
at the beginning, when you introduce your child to the iPad,

introduce them to the phone that they want to play on,
making sure that you set up those limits, you know,
restrictions at that time, but then not letting them lay
in bed and fall asleep with it, not keeping it
in their bedrooms, making sure that they only have certain
time on it, and restrictions as they start getting older,

talking to them about why you want them to be
safe online, and even talking to them about even if
they're playing a game. You know, let's say that you
were playing a game and someone says something really mean,
how would you handle that? You know, what would you do?
Who would you come? Talk to us? And so I

think talking about those discussions ahead of time and saying,
you know, you know, let's talk about let's write down
what are some things that you could do, Say that
mom and dad are busy or both working, and it happens,
here are some things. Let's write it down. I'll write
it down, we'll keep track of it. And so those
things as they go on, and then once they get

a little bit older, you know, middle school is talking
to them about the real stories. There is nothing more
powerful than you know, telling a kid about why as
a parent, I'm worried. I hear these stories, right, and
all I can do is think about I don't know
what I would do if it happened to you. But

did you ever hear about, you know, what happened to
this kid or this child? And what would you do?
You know, do you feel that you could come talk
to me? Because sometimes maybe I do get upset about things,
you know, So it's those open conversations of talking to
them is really important about what to do. And here's

you know at As you grow older, we'll redo some
of those restrictions, but as of right now, here's where
it's at. And I want to make sure if you're struggling,
let's write down who would you go to? Who would
you talk to if I'm not here? And so we
talk to them a lot about that. But that policy
of zero tolerance of do as I say. It's my

house and this is how it's going to go, and
I'll take your technology away. They're just going to learn
how to hide it quicker. And that's the hardest part.

Speaker 2 (01:11:09):
How did you monitor your other daughter's social media from
that point on?

Speaker 1 (01:11:15):
You know, I think after Megan took her own life,
and you know, all of the social media was involved.
I wanted to place my other daughter, Alison in a bubble,
you know, and just protect her, like no one touched her,
no one do anything to her. And you know when
social media, because she was ten and a half when
Megan took her own life, and you know now she's

twelve and thirteen, and then you know, she wanted social media,
she wanted a cell phone, and I was scared. But
I also really truly did not want her to suffer
because of what Megan went through. I didn't want her
to have to live with everything of you can't do

this because Meghan took her own life, or what happened
to Megan's going to happen to you. I didn't want
to do that, and so I was open and honest
with her, and I did monitor her if anything. Honestly,
I was a little bit more relaxed. First of all,
Alison did not have the ADHD component that Megan did.

But Alison was a little bit more open than Megan was.
I remember I had to It took me several days
to ask her if she'd ever had thoughts of suicide
because my biggest fear was of her saying yes, and
I didn't know what I was going to do, and

so I had to take each thing and almost like
face my fears and try to work through it, because
I truly wanted Alison to try to live as normal
of a life as she could because she had her
you know, her whole world was turned upside down. Mom
and Dad divorced, her sister took her own life. The

entire world of media was in our faces, at our
front doors, at every aspect the trial, everything, and I
refuse to let her go on camera, I refuse to
let them see her, talk to her, anything with her.
I did not want her to have to live that.
I wanted her to try to be as normal as
she could be. And so, you know, thankfully she did

do really, really well. Probably anybody that thought about bullying
her cyber bullying probably thought twice, probably because who she was,
you know, because they knew that my mouth was vocal,
I was, you know, I monitored, but it still did
not keep her from being picked on. You know, when

she was in high school. It wasn't severe, but it
was enough. But you know, she's twenty six now, and
I look back and I do think it was the
right thing to do to allow her to have that
and in the right and normal ways, versus trying to
keep it from because she still would have figured it out.

Speaker 2 (01:14:08):
One thing that struck me when I was reading about
your experience is just how young you were when this
was happening. You had Meghan when you were twenty one.
Is that cracked? Yeah?

Speaker 1 (01:14:17):
I had Megan when I was let's see, I just
turned twenty two, and I had Alison when I was
twenty six. Yeah, it's a lifetime ago, but.

Speaker 2 (01:14:28):
You know, so you were in your early thirties when, yes,
when you were going through all of this. That's just yeah,
that's incredible to me.

Speaker 1 (01:14:36):
Yeah, I was thirty six and you know, yeah, it's
I've aged quite a bit. I can tell you. I
still don't feel like i'm fifty one. But you know
the thing is, I look back and I feel compared
to some people in this world. Even through everything we've

gone through, I am truly so blessed to have had
Megan as my daughter, even though I wish she was here.
She taught me so much about life, and her life
continues too. I'm so proud of who she was continues

to keep helping to other people, and I feel as
sad as I am, as proud of her and the
foundation as I possibly can be. But yeah, I was young.
It flashed. The time goes by very quickly and some
days very slowly. Right.

Speaker 2 (01:15:48):
Thanks for listening to Maine Accounts, The Story of MySpace
and iHeart Original podcast Main Accounts. The Story of MySpace
is written and hosted by me Joanne McNeil. Editing its
sound as I'm by Mike Coscarelli and Mary Do. Original
music by Elise McCay, Mixing and mastering by Josh Fisher,

Research and fact checking by Austin Thompson, Jocelyn Sears, and
Marissa Brown. Show logo by Lucy Kintania. Special thanks to
Ryan Murdoch, Grace Views and the head Frasier. Our associate
producer is Lauren Phillip, Our senior producer is Mike Coscarelli,
and our executive producer is Jason English. If you're enjoying

the show, leave us a rating and review on your
favorite podcast platform Sadly, my MySpace page is no longer around,
but you can find me on Twitter at Joe Mick.
Let us hear your MySpace story and check out my book, Lurking,
main accounts. The Story of MySpace is a production of

iHeart Podcasts.
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