May 15th, 2008
05:39 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Worth the Wait

Erica Hill
360° Correspondent

Megan Meier was a beautiful 13 year old who hanged herself after becoming the victim of a cruel online prank. Her death became known as the “MySpace Suicide” and garnered international attention.

Today the woman - who posed as a teenage boy on MySpace, pretending to be interested in Megan Meier - was indicted on federal charges. At one point, prosecutors say this ”boy” told Megan Meier the world would be a better place without her. Now Lori Drew, the mother who created the fake MySpace account is facing charges of conspiracy and accessing protected computers without authorization to obtain information to inflict emotional distress. If convicted, she could be looking at some serious prison time.

I covered this story extensively on my show at Headline News, and tonight 360 will have the full report for you.

The stories coming out of China defy my best efforts to define them…there are not words. Incredible images and words from CNN colleagues and from those who lived through it. Check out their iReports.

Almost a year ago, a Louisville teen’s feet were severed on an amusement park ride.
The image is gruesome – the thought is even worse. Katilyn Lasitter’s right foot was reattached, but doctors had to amputate part of her left leg. Today the 14 year old was in Washington, lobbying for new regulations to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

Big savings in my home state this week, thanks to a local radio station. For two hours Wednesday morning, gas could be had in East Haven (or “ Staven”), CT for 99 cents a gallon. I was at my parents over the weekend and was shocked at the price of gas there. It’s never been cheap in CT, but we paid more than $4 a gallon, and it hurt. If I’d been around, I would have gotten in line, too!

WPLR’s morning crew has been running this early-morning special for a couple of years now, but never with a turnout like these. The first people in line got there at 10:30pm the night before… and saved $100.

Filed under: Erica Hill
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. michelle: Ont,Canada

    This is totally sick and I hope this woman gets many years in jail for what she did. I don't understand how an adult can be invloved in teenagers disputes and causes this to happen.

    May 16, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  2. Susan

    As a mother, I am so glad that Lori Drew is being brought up on charges. As a mother and adult, she should have known better than intentionally inflicting emotional pain on another child. (On a side note: What grown woman gets involved in 13 year old disputes....)

    May 16, 2008 at 1:02 pm |
  3. Jane, Detroit, MI

    True, Genevieve, but then you hear they are only paying 14 cents a gallon in Venezuela, and 45 cents a gallon in Iran. Kind of puts things in perspective. It's called price gouging by the big oil companies.

    May 16, 2008 at 1:57 am |
  4. xtina, chicago

    As far as gas prices, don't forget that the government takes a piece of the pie on the state and fed. level and maybe, just maybe we as taxpayers could pursue lowering THOSE figures, not just pointing at oil companies. Also I wonder what avg. percentage the individual gas stations take. If they make a big profit, why don't people attack the gas station owner with the same venom as the oil company itself?

    May 16, 2008 at 12:09 am |
  5. Barbara-Dalton Ga

    I am glad this lady faces charges. For the life of me I cannot understand why an adult would do such a stupid thing. I hope
    she gets plenty of jail time for this stunt.

    May 15, 2008 at 11:52 pm |
  6. Genevieve M, TX

    Everytime I think gas is expensive, I try to remember that other countries pay double or more of what I pay here in the US.

    May 15, 2008 at 10:36 pm |
  7. TJ

    My heart goes out to the families. A child has to one day face the reality that his/ her mother is a murder. And another family has to face the fact that their child was targetted by another sick adult

    May 15, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
  8. Annie Kate

    I'm glad that something is finally being done about Megan Meier's suicide and what drove her to it. Too many people use email and the internet to harrass other people and say things they would never say in person. I hope that this will remind people that you are answerable for your actions even when you are online.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 15, 2008 at 10:03 pm |
  9. Carol

    Re: the teenager who was injured at the amusement park.

    I saw the tape of her speaking and only one thought went through my mind: I hope the lawyers and her parents do not turn her into the perpetual victim for the rest of her life.

    This was a horrible- one in a million (or more)- accident. I had a horrible, one in a million accident when I was a child and lost part of my hand. It was many years ago but I still remember it like it was yesterday.

    However, it wasn't until I was an adult that I realized (and appreciated) how well my parents handled it and taught me to handle it. I can still do most things – just have to adjust and do them my way. There were some things that I wanted to do but couldn't. – my parents would suggest an alternative. There are some things I can't do – oh well.

    This young girl is bright, attractive, and has so much to offer. Don't let this accident be the story of her life. Let her recover – and let her move on. She still has a normal, fulfilling life ahead of her.

    May 15, 2008 at 9:07 pm |
  10. Megan Dresslar

    Hello Erica,
    I agree wsith you....... My hearts to Meiers family. that is so horrible for her and family....... I am so glad Lori Drew will pay for her life. I expect Lori Drew would go to jail. I am not accept what Lori Drew did false information to Megan Meier who hanged herself...... I felt disappointed with Lori Drew, I prayed for Ron and Tina Meier to comfortable and cope with late her daughter Megan. That is so disgust to me.......... oh! by the way I found gas pump pain near here round $4.59 dollars!:-( too much!!
    I will see you tonight at 7pm, See you there!
    Megan D.
    Shoreline, WA

    May 15, 2008 at 8:52 pm |
  11. Lilibeth

    @Kim, thanks for your response. Out of curiosity, I've done more research and I found that Europeans pay an arm and a leg for gasoline mostly due to heavy taxation. For anyone interested, other countries pay the following: (Data as of Apr. 18, 2008, so the prices now may be even higher. Data in US$ per gallon)

    Spain, $6.78
    Ireland, $7.21
    U.K., $8.24
    Finland, $8.66
    Netherlands, $9.39

    – – – – –

    And, no, I'm not implying we should pay more for gas...

    May 15, 2008 at 8:48 pm |
  12. Ruby Coria, LA., CA.

    Hi Erica, I use to watch you over at Headline News & I remember the story, and Mr. & Mrs. Meier, oh the hold thing was so disturbing..such madness., speaking of madness China, oh they got hit hard it's even hard to watch.
    I must admit I would've gotten in that gas line too! In a heart beat!
    see u tonight..

    May 15, 2008 at 7:39 pm |
  13. Kim

    @Lilibeth: in Germany, we are currently paying 8,50$ per gallon for gas 🙁

    May 15, 2008 at 7:17 pm |
  14. Dori in AZ

    Sorry, Erica!

    I had the suspect's first name wrong. It's LORI Drew.

    Tina is apparently the name of the young girl's mom. My heart goes out to Ron & Tina Meier & to Megan Meier's entire family. They're in my thoughts & prayers.

    May 15, 2008 at 6:54 pm |
  15. Dori in AZ

    Hola, Erica!

    That wasn't a "prank" – it was a newer form of child abuse. What kind of adult would do that to a child? Sadly, I know....

    Tina Drew needs to be put away for a long, long time.... The world would be a better place without her

    May 15, 2008 at 6:48 pm |
  16. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    Hi Erica,
    I hope this woman is convicted of whatever charges will stick. A message should ring out loud and clear, it's not ok to bully, harass, slander or abuse another human being. No exceptions to it. On the web or off.
    99 cents for gasoline? I'm feeling old today, I remember when it WAS that much a gallon and I thought it was sky high..I've heard gas will go higher come Memorial weekend. I guess it will be a stay at home for many. The sad thing about it is, what you save in gasoline not traveling , you spend on food! BBQ's and picnic prices give gas a run for it's money. The ants are no fools...free food, and walk to work. Take Care

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    May 15, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  17. Lilibeth


    I’m glad to hear of the latest development on the MySpace Suicide story because that woman should be held accountable for what she did. Since that story broke, I’ve asked myself what I would do if someone in cyberspace, especially someone who I don’t know, deliberately hurt my feelings for no good reason. I personally won’t pay any attention to him/her. I figure they don’t even know me, so they don’t have any right to judge me.

    Amusement park rides have always scared me. I used to be braver when I was a kid, but as I got older, I find myself opting for tea cup rides instead of the rollercoaster. Maybe sometimes it’s a blessing to be scared...

    99 cents a gallon, huh? Yeah, we’re nearing $4 a gallon here in WA state, and I’m not liking it at all. I was lamenting this to my husband, but he said that Europeans pay way more for gas, and it’s always been that way. I was surprised to hear this. Is this true? Do we know what Europeans pay for gas? I’d like to know...

    See you tonight.

    Edmonds, Washington

    May 15, 2008 at 6:18 pm |
  18. Dale Cincinatti, Ohio

    Life is hard enough as it is...especially for a teenager. It was cruel and evil what this woman did to a CHILD! Personally I hope she is made an example of and spend the rest of her life in prison for murder!

    May 15, 2008 at 6:09 pm |
  19. Beverly

    Great, I'm glad that something is finally being done in the Megan Meier case. It's bad enough when children bully each other, but when an adult knowingly does something that causes harm to a child they should feel the full weight of the law. Initially I could not believe that an "adult" would do something on the internet rather than walk 3 doors down and speak to the other teens parent. I guess this is what happens when parents want to be their kids friend rather than their parent. Our laws have to catch up with our technology.

    May 15, 2008 at 6:02 pm |
  20. Alexander

    Erica, that is pretty cool. I am referring to the price of gas for those few hours. When are they gonna do that sort of thing over here, huh? It was definitely worth the wait, Erica, as always.; )

    May 15, 2008 at 5:52 pm |