Charges Coming in MySpace Suicide?

This is a rush transcript from "The Big Story With John Gibson and Heather Nauert," January 9, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HEATHER NAUERT, "BIG STORY" CO-HOST: A big development tonight on a story that has outraged a lot of Americans. There could soon be charges coming in the MySpace suicide case after all.

A federal grand jury is now investigating the death of 13-year-old Megan Meier. She's the Missouri teen who killed herself after she was bullied online by an adult neighbor who played a cruel hoax on her.

JOHN GIBSON, "BIG STORY" CO-HOST: It's a case that could impact whether people who create fake Internet accounts on social networking sites can be prosecuted nationwide. BIG STORY correspondent Douglas Kennedy has the new details on this controversial investigation. Douglas?

DOUGLAS KENNEDY, "BIG STORY" CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John and Heather. Just a month ago, local prosecutors in Missouri declined to press charges in this case, but now the feds are involved. And that could mean trouble for one mother and justice for another.


KENNEDY (voice over): For 15 months, Tina Meier has been fighting for justice.

TINA MEIER, MEGAN MEIER'S MOTHER: Megan keeps us going every single day. And that's what — that's what's going to keep me fighting.

KENNEDY: It was October 2006 when her 13-year-old daughter took her own life after being fooled by a shockingly cruel Internet hoax. Now, a federal grand jury in Los Angeles is probing her daughter's death and is considering charging the Meier's neighbor and mother of Megan's friend. Lori Drew reportedly set up a false Internet account of a 16-year-old boy named Josh in order to torture the fragile teen. Megan's parents recently explained it this way.

T. MEIER: Megan gets an E-mail or a message on her MySpace from Josh saying that, "I don't know if I want to be friends with you any longer because I hear you're not nice to your friends."

RON MEIER, MEGAN'S FATHER: She did do what she did. But she had help to push her to do that, which is indescribable to me.

KENNEDY: What she did was hang herself soon after the fictitious Josh broke off their month-long relationship. Drew's attorney admits Drew knew about the phony MySpace account but says it was her daughter and another friend who sent the final taunts that sent Megan over the edge.

T. MEIER: And I just got this horrible feeling in my stomach. And I just took off running upstairs and opened the door and I found her.

KENNEDY: Last month, a Missouri prosecutor declined to press charges citing lack of state laws governing harassment on the Internet. Since then, Missouri's governor has taken up the Meier's cause.

MATT BLUNT, MISSOURI GOVERNOR: The aftermath of the tragic death of Megan Meier. I believed we needed to do something to help ensure that this would not happen to any other Missouri child or to any other Missouri family.

KENNEDY: Matt Blunt recently convened a special state task force which this week recommended a felony charge for any adult harassing children on the Internet.

BLUNT: This would help ensure that no other family has to go through what Megan Meier's family has had to endure, and that justice would occur if such a criminal activity were committed in the in the future.


KENNEDY (on camera): Federal prosecutors are not commenting on the grand jury investigation. But a report in the Los Angeles Times says they have already subpoenaed Lori Drew's MySpace records. So it seems, John and Heather, they are serious.

GIBSON: Is there a chance of feds are overreaching on this prosecution?

KENNEDY: You know, Internet law is so new now that the feds almost always have to overreach to get a prosecution, because the crime almost never fits exactly what they wrote. But these guys in Los Angeles are very serious, because this case didn't even happen in Los Angeles. It happened in Missouri, but they're justifying it by saying that MySpace is located in L.A. And so they really want this case.

GIBSON: Douglas Kennedy. Douglas, thank you very much.

NAUERT: Thanks, Douglas.

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