Most recently she was leading life as a grownup, working for an insurance company and making plans to study psychology in grad school. But many remember Vicki Van Meter as the brave sixth-grader beaming from the cockpit of her single-engine Cessna 172--the kid who in 1993 became the youngest girl to fly across the U.S. and, later, across the Atlantic to Scotland. Van Meter, who spent two years in Moldova in the Peace Corps, suffered from depression and died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound at 26.

The film industry is well known for its sharks, which is why it...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!