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"Hiccup Girl" Jennifer Mee Lived as Transient Before Arrest, Say Police

"Hiccup Girl" Jennifer Mee Lived as Transient Before Arrest, Say Police
Jennifer Mee (CBS/WFOR/Pinellas County Jail) CBS/WFOR/Pinellas County Jail

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CBS/AP) Jennifer Mee, the Florida teenager who gained attention three years ago for her five week bout of the hiccups, was living a transient lifestyle before she was charged with murder this week, according to an investigator.

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Maj. Mike Kovacsev of the St. Petersburg police told NBC's "Today" show that law enforcement officers had approximately a dozen "contacts" with the 19-year-old Mee throughout the past year at several different addresses.

"She didn't actually live on the street, but was transient in nature because she tended to live in different motels or apartments and moved from one location to another," he said.

Mee's mother, Rachel Robidoux, told Tampa radio station WFLZ on Monday that her daughter had not lived with her in a year.

Mee, of St. Petersburg, and alleged accomplices Laron Raiford and Lamont Newton, were charged with first-degree murder Sunday in the shooting death of 22-year old Shannon Griffin.

According to the St. Petersburg Police Department, Mee accepted a "friend request" from Griffin on a social networking Web site about five or six days before she lured Griffin to a vacant home where the two others robbed him Saturday and then shot him several times. Kovacsev said police do not believe Mee fired the gun.

The three suspects told St. Petersburg Police Chief Chuck Harmon that the incident was a robbery gone wrong, reports MSNBC. They stole less than $50 from Griffin, who was an employee at a Walmart and planned to be on vacation this week, states the Web site.

In 2007, Mee gained national attention as the girl who could not stop hiccupping; she would hiccup up to 50 times a minute for months. She tried home remedies and consulted medical specialists, a hypnotist and an acupuncturist, until the hiccups finally just stopped on their own.

Experts believe Mee's short-lived hiccup fame may have been the catalyst for her being led astray.

"Early Show" contributor Dr. Jennifer Hartstein, a child and adolescent psychologist, told the broadcast: "Here was a young woman, 15, or 16 years old who ends up in the public eye, has all of this notoriety, and just as quickly it goes away. And what does that do for a young person's self-esteem? We see a lot of young adults who can't handle the spotlight, and here's one who's not trained to handle the spotlight."

Robidoux recently spoke to a local radio show and defended her daughter, saying, "I've said for a while now that her case of the hiccups wasn't a case of the hiccups, it was a curse of the hiccups...She's very naive. I just think that she was getting herself into stuff where she didn't really realize what she was doing."

The police press release announcing Mee's arrest detailed the troubles she has experienced since her mysterious case of the hiccups. They include running away from home and several instances of domestic violence involving a boyfriend.