Josephine Bell Maintained She Was Not Involved in Reena Virk's Murder — Where Is She Now?

Josephine Bell hatched a revenge plot that ended in murder. Looking back on what happened, she didn't seem to care.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Apr. 17 2024, Published 5:13 p.m. ET

(L-R): Josephine Bell on MSNBC;  school photo of Reena Virk
Source: MSNBC (video still; YouTube/CTV News (video still)

(L-R): Josephine Bell; Reena Virk

Content warning: This article mentions descriptions of physical violence and murder.

In the book The Winter of Our Discontent, author John Steinbeck wrote, "I shall revenge myself in the cruelest way you can imagine. I shall forget it." In other words, the best way to get back at someone is to ignore them because what that person feeds on is your attention. Obviously, this doesn't apply to all acts of retaliation, but in general, it can be applied to a plethora of situations.

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It's a shame Josephine Bell didn't take Steinbeck's advice when, in November 1997, her thirst for vengeance ended in the death of Reena Virk. Both were teenagers at the time but they couldn't have been more different. Where Virk was shy and seemingly without friends, Bell was outgoing and popular. It's been over 25 years since Virk was killed. Where is Bell now and what could have birthed such anger?

Where is Josephine Bell now?

Two people were convicted of second-degree murder for the death of Virk. Bell was not one of them. In October 2011, MSNBC aired a special called "Death Under the Bridge," in which Bell (whose real name is Nicole Cook) spoke with Keith Morrison. To date, it's the only interview she ever gave about the gruesome event at Craigflower Bridge. As of the time of this writing, Bell has maintained a private life.

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Bell was described as rebellious and told Morrison she frequently ran away from home. This occurred so often that she ended up living in a group home. She met Virk there, as the two frequently had short-term stints at the foster homes. It was at one of these houses that Bell and Virk struck up a friendship that didn't last very long.

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Why did Josephine Bell decide to get back at Reena Virk?

"She was very insecure," said Bell about Virk. "I didn't really want to hang out with her anymore because it seemed like she was jealous of me." When Bell distanced herself from the introverted Virk, the quiet girl decided to get back at her former friend. "I left my phone book at her house and she called a bunch of people," recalled Bell. Virk called numbers in the book and told Bell's friends outrageous lies such as her breasts were fake. According to VICE, she even told people that Bell had AIDS.

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Bell involved her friends Missy Pleich and Kelly Ellard. A conversation with Ellard, who had been her best friend since middle school, resulted in a dangerous plan. Fighting was common in their friend group, and it was decided the girls would get back at Virk by beating her up. On Nov. 14, 1997, Virk was at her parents' house when Pleich called and invited her out. Bell claimed that Pleich made the call because Virk had "messed around with her boyfriend," and she was also looking for revenge.

The night ended underneath Craigflower Bridge where the more than a dozen teens would drink and hangout. In Bell's version of events, she asked Virk why she was spreading rumors about her. In response to that, Virk allegedly called Bell a b---h. Bell put her cigarette out on Virk's forehead, which kicked off attacks from several other girls. Ellard and Pleich hit Virk as she tried to get away. When asked how she felt about hitting her best friend, Pleich said she "felt nothing."

Bell claimed she watched a bloodied Virk stumble away, which is when she, Pleich, and most of the party left. Ellard and a boy named Warren Glowtaski, who kicked Virk twice during the beating, stayed behind. Ellard confronted Virk and demanded to know if she was going to snitch on all of them. For reasons known only to Ellard and Glowtaski, they finished what everyone had started. After Virk was unconscious, Ellard and Glowtaski dragged her to the water. Ellard then held Virk underwater until she died.

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