From Media Star To Murderer: The Rise And Fall Of 'Hiccup Girl' Jennifer Mee

Jennifer Mee skyrocketed into the national spotlight when she sought treatment for a case of incurable hiccups. With her shy, soft-spoken demeanor and an innocent aura that begged for help, it was easy to sympathize with the young woman.

Daytime TV show audiences rallied around Mee, offering advice, support, and even trips to water parks. Nicknamed "Hiccup Girl," Mee captivated a nation and dominated headlines. Attention momentarily faded once Mee's hiccups were cured, and her status as a medical curiosity ceased - but the frenzy resumed when she went on trial for murder.

As quickly as the “media darling” rose to fame, she would fall into disgrace.

  • In 2007, 15-Year-Old Jennifer Mee Developed Uncontrollable Hiccups

    It started with a hiccup. Jennifer Mee was in her science class when her diaphragm spasmed. Assuming the uncomfortable sensation would stop as quickly as it started, Mee tried to focus her attention back on her teacher. Fifteen minutes later, she was in the nurse's office. Five hours later, she was still hiccuping - and unfortunately, her ordeal was only beginning.

    Over the following several weeks, Mee visited a pediatrician, a cardiologist, and a neurologist. Doctors ordered multiple blood tests, CT scans, and MRIs, but even with all the examinations and tests, no one could explain why Mee's hiccups wouldn't stop.

    Mee hiccuped around 50 times a minute every day for over a month. The bizarre case of unstoppable hiccups caused the 15-year-old significant distress. She suffered deep chest pain due to the constant pressure and could only eat soft foods, like applesauce and Jell-O. She needed medication to sleep and had to drop out of school.

    After weeks of discomfort, Mee was understandably miserable and desperate for answers.

  • Mee Appeared On Many Television Shows Hoping For A Cure

    As any teenager in the late '00s would, Mee sought answers on the internet. From sipping ice water to holding her breath to having people scare her, Mee tried remedy after remedy to no avail. Nothing lessened the symptoms or cured her affliction. With Mee's psychical and mental health declining, her mother, Robidoux, turned to the media for help.

    The Tampa Bay Times answered her pleas, and Mee's story went viral. Robidoux said they received “30 to 50 calls” from media outlets competing for interviews. Today offered to help by coordinating a meeting between Mee and gastroenterologist Dr. Roshini, but the hosts turned the segment into a joke. Upon observing that Mee stopped hiccuping when she spoke, Matt Lauer commented, “So there's the solution right there. Don't stop talking.”

    Mee continued to make public appearances, with professionals suggesting Lamaze breathing techniques, acupuncture, a modified Heimlich maneuver, and even swallowing tablespoons of peanut butter. Regardless, the hiccups persisted.

  • Finally, Dr. Bob Linde Treated Mee, And The Hiccups Stopped

    After five weeks of constant hiccups, Mee was finally cured. Surprisingly, it took more than swallowing entire tablespoons of peanut butter to stop the affliction. The truth was, Mee didn't know the precise reason why she woke up one morning to a soothed diaphragm. When speaking to a Florida radio station, she credited a combination of a special drinking cup, a chiropractor, a hypnotist, and an acupuncturist for her newfound comfort.

    When asked what was the most exciting thing about having her hiccups cured, Mee answered:  “Monday, I'm going back to school for sure. That's the first thing I told my mom, that I want to go back to school.”

  • Mee Ran Away From Home In 2007

    The end of Mee's hiccups seemed to be the start of personal problems for the teenager. Mee dropped out of school, started using drugs, and lived a secret life while living in her mother's house. In 2010, Mee's stepfather found her Myspace account, where she alluded to drinking, smoking weed, and visiting strip clubs.

    As punishment for participating in and posting about unlawful activities, Mee's parents shut her phone off. An angered Mee made headlines once again when she ran away from home.

    Robidoux told the press that Mee's time in the spotlight changed her daughter. She believed Mee wanted freedom without boundaries, and her brush with fame exacerbated the situation. Always a little rebellious, being on "national TV and brain medicines" gave Mee the impression that she was important and no one could tell her what to do, including her parents.

    This belief supposedly pushed Mee onto a troubling path that would eventually see her charged with first-degree murder.

  • Mee Began Dating Lamont Newton, And The Two Planned A Robbery

    Mee became known as a sweet, endearing teenager, but fame seemed to lead her down a dark and troubling path. After her 15 minutes of fame passed, Mee fell into unhealthy habits.

    Overwhelmed by being the “it girl,” Mee allowed the attention to go to her head. Her status as a media darling skewed Mee's perception of the world, making her believe she could do whatever she wanted. This false sense of infallibility set her on the so-called "devil's path," which included using and selling drugs and hanging out in seedy bars, even though she was a minor.

    Her illicit activities helped her fall in with a bad crowd, which included her soon-to-be boyfriend, Lamont Newton. In pursuit of freedom and independence, Mee moved in with Newton, his friend Laron Raiford, and Raiford's girlfriend, who was also named Jennifer. None of the young adults had criminal histories, but they enabled each other to fall further into bad habits. Their drug use escalated, sometimes causing Mee to go days without sleep. She often mixed ecstasy, weed, and cocaine, which made her feel “invincible.”

    When money for substances ran dry, the group delved into petty crimes, often staging robberies to fund their next supply. When the roommates once again needed cash, they focused on a man Mee was already talking to online.

  • In 2010, Mee And Newton Executed Their Plan

    On October 23, 2010, Mee asked 22-year-old Shannon Griffin to meet in person. The pair had been speaking online for a while and, according to Mee, they arranged to meet under the pretense of Griffin buying weed. Griffin's cousin told the court the young man left his house excited at the prospect of taking Mee on a date.

    Robbing people wasn't new to Mee, Newton, or Raiford. They had a history of using social media to lure targets on fake dates or drug trades. Just like before, Mee used herself as bait. Mee told Griffin to meet her at a vacant house across the street from her own. Mee then led Griffin to an alley adjacent to the home, where Newton and Raiford were waiting. The pair assaulted Griffin, intent on beating him up and running away with his money. Not a small man, however, Griffin wasn't going to let himself be a victim.

    The assault quickly spiraled when Griffin defended himself, taking on both Newtown and Raiford, and from observations of the crime scene, he seemed to be winning. At this time, Mee claimed she fled from the alley. She was halfway home when she heard the first gunshot. Mee panicked and continued running.

    Six shots were fired, three of which claimed Shannon Griffin's life. He was murdered for less than $60.