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May 16th, 2008
06:15 PM ET

Justice for parents?

Gary Tuchman    
National Correspondent

When we cover the news, we need to be prepared for whatever the story will bring us. But it is often hard to be prepared for the emotional ramifications. That was the case when producer Katherine Wojtecki and I visited Ron and Tina Meier in suburban St. Louis, the parents of Megan Meier, the girl who became known as the "My Space suicide victim."

Ron and Tina told us about their hopes and dreams for the child they gave birth to and nurtured. They told us about how their hearts broke when she was taunted as she grew up. And they told us about how excited their 13 year old was when a boy named Josh whom she met on-line said he liked her. 

Well, "Josh," who we of course learned was a creation, turned against Megan and it was too much for this child with such a fragile ego. And that's where the conversation with her parents got unbearably sad. Crying, her father told me he walked up to her room and found her hanging from a bar in her closet. It is unimaginable what these parents must have been going through during those initial minutes. They haven't and will never get over it. All they could ask for when they were talking to me was justice in the name of their daughter who died so sadly and forlornly. With yesterday's indictments, they may be on the verge of getting that.

 


Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Myspace suicide
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Janet, American in Canada

    Sad Sad Sad --that someone who calls herself a mother would stoop to such unthinkable act! She has committed murder, and it is murder, just another course of murder.

    May 18, 2008 at 1:23 pm |
  2. Ann Johnson

    I have wondered that if our senators and representatives worked on legislation rather than each one writing a book - well, how much better off we might be.

    May 17, 2008 at 7:01 pm |
  3. Raymond Rijkse

    My thoughts and prayers are with Ron and Tina Meier and I concur, what Mrs. Drew & her cohorts did was absolutely reprehensible. I have a pre-teen daughter and am a single father, currently on my second combat-tour in Iraq. I couldn't imagine the pain and agony the Meiers are going through at this point and regardless of the outcome, once the trial is done and retribution is paid, at the end of the day, the Meiers have to come home to that silent home where their deceased child once lived. How do you overcome that? I'm utterly shocked and beside myself with this situation. I sincerely hope the Meiers have a solid support group and family at ready to help ease their suffering.

    May 17, 2008 at 5:48 am |
  4. Missy

    In response to Mary in Oklahoma, the blog does state that the parents were very much well aware of the existence of "Josh" because they're daughter was excited about this "boy" liking her. Her parents seem to be as involved as they could be with Megan and unfortunately her self worth was destroyed after a month of manipulation by a conniving adult who used Megan's thoughts and emotions against her by telling her the world would be better off without her. As a teen, unfortunately without the experience we have as adults, the opinion of a peer -especially of the opposite sex holds a lot more weight then it should.

    My condolences to Megan's family as well as Brandi Ranatza for your loss.

    May 17, 2008 at 1:41 am |
  5. Mary Oklahoma

    To Brandi– I am sorry for you loss but I said those things above because I too had children who had a very rough time growing up and both have life-long disabilities from lack of care and irrsponsibility of others. Both were a few minutes from death before they received medical care. Perhaps, if I had not trusted other people and been a better parent my sons would be walking around whole. I didn't intend to sound callous.

    May 17, 2008 at 1:22 am |
  6. Kathy Barrett

    She Hasn't Sung Yet....

    Not so fast. I'm a Hillary supporter and I will back her fully in her presidential bid as she takes it to the very end. However, if Obama gets the nomination, I will support him wholeheartedly IF and only IF he chooses Hillary as his running mate, and I believe she would accept such an offer. But if he doesn't choose HIllary...

    How does all this shake out? First, I'm sick to death of being told to "write your [male] Congressman" about this or that issue, I do, and I get back a letter from my [male] Congressman explaining why he won't vote as I would have him vote on any given issue critical to women. After three decades of that crap, I feel like a beggar, like a supplicant with my hand out, like Oliver Twist, "Please Sir, more?" --forever lulled into begging male politicians for the laws and the political relief that would benefit women (and thereby children). I'm sick of it. I would rather have a woman in office making the decisions that truly give women and children a decent break than be relegated to the protestor's ranks or the picket line, begging to be heard, begging for social equality and political mercy.

    So if Obama does not choose Hillary as his running mate, if as a woman, she is completely shut out and he picks a man, I will never forgive him–or forget. I would work to contact my feminist groups to start an on-line campaign, a groundswell of protest and outrage, to reach as many people exponentially as possible to cost Obama the election in the fall by encouraging Clinton supporters to vote for McCain. That's right, 4-8 more years of Bush III, rather than allow the Democratic Party to turn its back on women. That would be, I think, a shrewd and powerful use of the female vote.

    We women collectively are not members of an "interest group", we are half the population, half the experience of humanity, half of the voice of "mankind", half of the rest of the story of what it means to be human, but that voice has always been stifled. Therefore, I have no compunction about backing my candidate into power if that is what it will take to finally get a woman in the White House THIS TIME around.

    May 17, 2008 at 1:17 am |
  7. EJ

    I am so sorry for your loss Brandi!

    May 17, 2008 at 1:07 am |
  8. Brandi Ranatza

    I just read the other blog on this story and am completely devastated at the number of times people have said that parents are responsible for their children!!!!

    Of course they are, but would it be better to place them in a glass jar and just wait for it to get knocked off the shelf?? Any parent who has had to deal with a suicidal child knows how difficult it is and getting help for a child is so hard to do when the rest of the world says the exact same thing as some of the blogs i have seen, "all people go through devastating things in their lives."

    I monitored my sons myspace, i brought him to every specialist i could, i nurtured him and even attended classes that would help me understand and deal with his problems alongside him. What you people do not see is that some kids and adults have deeper problems that are genetic and cannot be solved with simple supervision. You have no shame, revictimizing every person who has had similar experiences, that is exactly what you are doing. Society is responsible as a whole for a lot that children experience, and it isnt all related to MySpace or a lack of parental supervision or love.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:49 pm |
  9. Brandi Ranatza

    To Mary in OK:

    My son had been battling hormonal disorders and bipolar affective disorder for several years prior to his death. Im sure Megans parents are not at fault in her death. Unfortunately, there is always someone like you who insists that it is the fault of those who most likely tried to help her the most, especially in suicide. I wonder if your children have ever experienced the horrors that other children have. You do not know her medical history or the details of this family to say such things.

    May 16, 2008 at 10:51 pm |
  10. Brandi Ranatza

    I would also like to add that my son would be 15 years old tomorrow. And it will be the second year I will be celebrating his birthday without him, but I still celebrate it and bring him a piece of his birthday cake each year. It seems to help me, I hope that Megan's family have wonderful memories to help them cope with their loss. ❤

    May 16, 2008 at 10:07 pm |
  11. Brandi Ranatza

    I know exactly what they are going through. I will never get justice for the torment my 13-year old son went through, but I hope her parents do. Children can be so cruel to each other but knowing it was an adult that intentionally did this to a child is so disturbing. My son was beautiful person and cared so much for others, the pain of his absence in my life or what I went through the night I found him in the same way in which they found Megan cannot ever be expressed in any language.

    I am so saddened for this family, I will keep them in my prayers.

    May 16, 2008 at 9:59 pm |
  12. Jo Ann

    Gary,

    I was glad to hear that charges will be filed against this monstrous woman. It will not bring Megan back to her family, but maybe by acknowledging her death in this way it may prevent other tragedies like this from happening.

    This is an emotional story; I am sure that Megan’s parents appreciate the sensitive way in which you have reported on their daughter’s death.

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    May 16, 2008 at 9:15 pm |
  13. Heather

    I am very happy that somehow the legal systen found away to make to this called adult(parent)accountable for horrible unspeekable behavior. My eyes are moist with tears for a beautiful girl who thought no one cared. If only she knew how much this country cares about her.

    May 16, 2008 at 8:47 pm |
  14. Annie Kate

    This is such a sad tragic case. I feel for Megan's parents and I hope for their case some justice is found – it won't bring Megan back but it might keep the same sort of thing from happening to some other child.

    Its still hard to believe that another adult – another mother even – was behind the terrible trick that drove Megan to suicide. Did this person think that because they were behind a keyboard that they had free license to lead this child on because no one would know who it was? I hope this case will put pause to others who harass others on line – you are responsible for what you say and do even on the Internet and you can be identified.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 16, 2008 at 8:15 pm |
  15. Mary Oklahoma

    It is terribly sad that this girl had so little self-esteem that she would commit suicide from this one rejection. Every day, children and adults go through emotional distress for any number of reasons. This young girl needed to be evaluated a long time before Josh came though on My Space. Her parents bought her a computer but did not monitor her usage and that to me is neglect. The person who pretended to be Josh is no more at fault than the parents.
    Police, school officials and child advocates tell parents to monitor their children activity and it appears her parents did not. They also say not to post personnal info on the net such as name, address, age, or photo. But this is still so sad. That girl must have been truly lonely.

    May 16, 2008 at 7:40 pm |
  16. Cheryl M.

    As a Mom of 12 yr old twin daughters, I can totally understand the fragile ego of kids that age. What was that other mother thinking??? I mean really, how would she feel if the roles were reversed. How pathetic. I hope they throw the key away on that one.

    May 16, 2008 at 7:11 pm |
  17. Barbara - Las Vegas, NV

    Gary – I'm looking forward to your story tonight. I was surprised and relieved when I read about the indictments tomorrow.

    Even the most attentive parents can't watch over their child 24/7/365.

    What Mrs. Drew & her cohorts did was reprehensible. They didn't put a gun in Megan's hand, but they intentionally and with malice contributed to her mental state. They pushed her over that edge, the edge between choosing to live another day and ending her life.

    I don't know what kind of punishment is fitting, but their actions were criminal and they should pay the consequences.

    May 16, 2008 at 7:10 pm |
  18. Donna R.

    My thougths are with Ron and Tina Meier, the pain they must feel has to be indescribable. I hope that their story will help protect other children from the abuse that Megan felt. Myspace is a friendly place, but there are some out there who do things to make this site look bad. For an adult to knowingly prey on a child's emotions for her own benefit is reckless and cruel. I hope that this woman is punished for what she has done to this sweet child. My prays are with the Meier family.

    Donna R.-MI

    May 16, 2008 at 6:55 pm |
  19. Cindy

    Gary,
    Megan's parents may get closure once the trial happens and Lori is convicted but I doubt it'll be justice enough for them. They lost their only child to a sick, cruel joke. Nothing can ever appease that. And no matter how much prison time Lori may get it'll never take the place of what could have been for their daughter.

    May 16, 2008 at 6:39 pm |