The mind boggles.

DARDENNE PRAIRIE, Mo., Nov. 21 — Megan Meier died believing that somewhere in this world lived a boy named Josh Evans who hated her. He was 16, owned a pet snake, and she thought he was the cutest boyfriend she ever had.

Tina and Ron Meier with a photo of their daughter Megan, 13, who killed herself last year after an online romance ended.

Josh contacted Megan through her page on MySpace.com, the social networking Web site, said Megan’s mother, Tina Meier. They flirted for weeks, but only online — Josh said his family had no phone. On Oct. 15, 2006, Josh suddenly turned mean. He called Megan names, and later they traded insults for an hour.

The next day, in his final message, said Megan’s father, Ron Meier, Josh wrote, “The world would be a better place without you.”

Sobbing, Megan ran into her bedroom closet. Her mother found her there, hanging from a belt. She was 13.

Six weeks after Megan’s death, her parents learned that Josh Evans never existed. He was an online character created by Lori Drew, then 47, who lived four houses down the street in this rapidly growing community 35 miles northwest of St. Louis.



Why would a forty-seven year old woman do this? Because her daughter had been slighted:

In seventh grade, Megan Meier had tried desperately to join the popular crowd at Fort Zumwalt West Middle School, only to be teased about her weight, her mother said. At the beginning of eighth grade last year, she transferred to Immaculate Conception, a nearby Catholic school. Within three months, Ms. Meier said, her daughter had a new group of friends, lost 20 pounds and joined the volleyball team.

At one time, Lori Drew’s daughter and Megan had been “joined at the hip,” said Megan’s great-aunt Vicki Dunn. But the two drifted apart, and when Megan changed schools she told the other girl that she no longer wanted to be friends, Ms. Meier said.



When the family found out who "Joshua Evans" was--six weeks after it had happened, and not from the Drews, but from a neighbor whose daughter was involved--the Meiers took a little revenge on an inanimate object:


Shortly before Megan’s death, the Meiers had agreed to store a foosball table the Drews had bought as a Christmas surprise for their children. When the Meiers learned about the MySpace hoax, they attacked the table with a sledgehammer and an ax, Ms. Meier said, and threw the pieces onto the Drews’ driveway.



Under the circumstances, this seems rather restrained. Nonetheless, the Drews filed a police report complaining that, after all, all she did was mess with the mind of a 13 year old girl whom she knew to be on antidepressants. It's not like she put the belt in Megan's hand or anything, and besides, the death of your child is no excuse for destroying a brand new football table.

Chutzpah seems curiously inadequate. Who are these people?

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