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The gruesome murder of Reena Virk




The gruesome murder of Reena Virk

How does a fight between a group of teenagers result in a murder?

Hulu’s new true crime series “Under the Bridge,” based on the nonfiction book by the late Rebecca Godfrey, portrays the before and after of the brutal murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk. The first two episodes, released on April 17, show the timeline of events leading to Virk’s death and the investigation that took place.

Created by Quinn Shephard, the show tells the story of the events that unfolded through the lens of Godfrey (Riley Keough), a journalist who grew up in Victoria and was working on a novel about teenage girls in her hometown when she learned that the murder , and Cam Bentland (Lily Gladstone), a local police officer who investigated and solved the case.

Godfrey told Interview Magazine in 2019 how she got involved with the show. “I lived in New York City. This would have been the late 1990s and I was working on a novel about teenage girls in my hometown of Victoria, British Columbia. Then I started getting all these calls from friends saying there had been a murder in Victoria,” she said. “I went home shortly afterwards and went to prison. I was just amazed because the girls all looked like normal, cool, young teenage girls, and not exactly like murderers.”

The cast of the show also includes Vritika Gupta, Ezra Faroque Khan, Archie Panjabi, Chloe Guidry, Javon Walton, Izzy G. and Aiyana Goodfellow.

What happened to Reena Virk?

Virk’s father, Manjit, wrote ‘Reena: A Father’s Story’ in 2008, which chronicles his daughter’s life and death. According to Manjit, Virk grew up feeling like an outsider and was bullied throughout her childhood. She had a complicated relationship with her Indian-Canadian parents, who raised her as a Jehovah’s Witness.

When she was 14, she started hanging out with a group of teenagers, including Nicole Cook. The novel “Under the Bridge” details how Virk allegedly spread rumors that Cook said she had fake breasts, wore colored contact lenses and had AIDS.

On the evening of November 14, 1997, Virk was invited by her peers to a social gathering near the Craigflower Bridge in Saanich, a community outside Victoria, British Columbia. According to the TV show ‘Bloodlust Under the Bridge’, Virk was confronted by Cook at the party about spreading rumors. Virk called her a “bitch,” prompting Cook to light a cigarette on Virk’s forehead. Cook and Missy Grace Pleich said Cook’s best friend, Kelly Ellard, and Pleich both began hitting and kicking Virk. Then the rest of the group, including Warren Glowatski, joined in.

Virk managed to escape. However, Ellard, then 15, and Glowatski, then 16, followed Virk when she continued to attack her, dragged her into the water and Ellard held Virk underwater until she drowned. Vice obtained a coroner’s report showing that Virk suffered multiple blows to the body and suffered a “convulsive injury, as is commonly seen in car accident victims.”

Police found Virk’s body on November 22, 1997, eight days after she was murdered.

Who were the teenagers who killed her?

The six girls involved in the first attack became known as the ‘Shoreline Six’. They were convicted in juvenile court of assault for their role in the first attack that took place. They received sentences ranging from sixty-day suspended sentences to one year in prison.

Ellard and Glowatski were both tried as adults in separate trials. Glowatski was tried first and in June 1999 he was convicted of murder. He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for seven years, but was later granted parole in 2010.

Ellard’s trial began in March 2000 and she was charged with second-degree murder. However, in February 2003, the British Columbia Court of Appeals ruled to overturn Ellard’s conviction. Ellard’s second trial ended in a mistrial in June 2004. After her third trial, in April 2005, jurors again convicted Ellard and she was given a life sentence, and her parole was set at seven years. In 2017, she was granted one day parole.

Ellard has since changed her name to Kerry Marie Sim and has had two children. She remains behind bars.

What the showrunners and cast want the audience to take away

Showrunners Quinn Shephard and Samir Mehta narrated it Variety Marc Malkin talked about the importance of casting girls who were the same age as the real killers at the premiere on Monday.

“We were like, ‘Please trust us, the show won’t work if they’re not really young.’ And luckily we were given the freedom to do that,” Shephard said of the initial casting process. “It was the most inspiring experience to work with them [the kids] and seeing how seriously they took the subject, and how eager they were to do justice to the story.”

Due to the heavy topics in the show, social workers and trauma counselors were present for support if needed.

“We had a lot of conversations beforehand, not just in rehearsal, but just in meetings to talk about the subject matter and really make sure we were all on the same page about responsible portrayal,” Mehta said.

Mehta talked about how he hopes this show will inspire “more exploration of the self.”

“Could I be part of this? If I was that age, would I have been there under the bridge that night? You know, is what I judge so strongly about because it’s so terrible? Is that actually at some level of projection of something that may be living within me? said Mehta.

Gladstone also told Malkin what she hopes audiences take away from the series.

“I really hope that when we watch the series, we focus a little more on the true crime part than the crime aspect,” she said. “Sensationalizing the crime elevates the perpetrator to celebrity status and erases the victim in the process. And when we do that, we also lose the opportunity to talk about what that person has created… what in society has caused the vulnerable person to become a victim.”

The remaining episodes will appear weekly on Hulu until the finale on May 29.