Reena Virk's Murder Is the Subject of Hulu's 'Under the Bridge' — What Happened to Her?

Reena Virk's badly beaten body was found in the Gorge Waterway in British Columbia. Her murder was part of a revenge plot.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Apr. 16 2024, Published 1:34 p.m. ET

In April 2010, nearly 13 years after her daughter was beaten to death, Suman Virk spoke with ANewsVanIsland about bullying in schools. She contributed to a piece that centered around students at a Canadian high school who wore pink for a day as part of an anti-bullying campaign. "I don't think the problem of bullying has decreased at all," she told the outlet. "There is just as much of it going on today as there was when my daughter was murdered."

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Kids picking on each other is certainly nothing new, and sadly continues to evolve. Once upon a time, victims could escape their tormenters simply by going home, but the rise of social media has allowed bullies to hurt their targets anytime the mood strikes them. Suman became an anti-bullying advocate after her daughter Reena's brutal murder. Her story was told in the book Under the Bridge, and now in a Hulu fictionalized series by the same name. So, what happened to Reena Virk? Here's what we know.

Vritika Gupta as Reena Virk in Hulu's 'Under the Bridge'
Source: Hulu
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What happened to Reena Virk?

According to VICE, on the night Virk was murdered a Russian satellite had broken apart in the sky. Its destruction look like multiple falling stars to the people of Vancouver Island. It was November 1997, and the strange beauty of a failing satellite was providing more entertainment than usual for the teenagers who lived in this small town. They frequently gathered under the Craigflower Bridge to party, and marked the occasion by doing the usual.

Virk was 14 years old and lived under the strict rules of her parents, who were Jehovah's Witnesses. She rebelled by listening to the same kind of music her more adventurous peers did. In the mid-90s it was all about gangster rap and emulating the artists who told stories about an existence these small-town kids in Canada were wildly unfamiliar with.

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Because of her upbringing, Virk was shy but that didn't stop her from stealing a classmate's journal and using it to spread false rumors about her. This classmate was friends with a girl whose identity remained a secret, due to a court-ordered mandate, but we'll call her Sarah Johnson. She was extremely close to another teen named Kelly Ellard. In response to the journal theft, the two hatched a plan to get back at Virk.

The bridge party scene from Hulu's 'Under the Bridge'
Source: Hulu
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Things moved rather quickly at the party. Johnson "put a lit cigarette out on Virk's forehead," reported VICE. The stunned Virk fought back but she was quickly surrounded by six more girls as well as one boy named Warren Glowatski. She was kicked and punched as horrified partygoers looked on. One girl finally stepped in and everyone watched as a bloody Virk staggered away. When her body was recovered the medical examiner determined she died by drowning, which means something else happened.

Who was convicted for Reena Virk's murder?

Virk's body was discovered eight days after the party. A lot happened between the party and her body being found. "17-year-old Warren Glowatski is arrested and charged with Virk’s murder. Seven teenage girls also face various charges, ranging from assault to murder," via Global News. Three of these girls were convicted of assault, one 15-year-old girl was sentenced to five months in prison for her participation in Virk's beating, and two teenagers were convicted of second-degree murder.

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Ellard and Glowatski were found guilty of second-degree murder. Glowatowski was sentenced to life in prison and eligibility for parole after seven years. There would end up being three trials for Ellard, whose family hired a very expensive lawyer to defend her. A court of appeal ordered a new trial after her first conviction but while out on bail, Ellard was "charged with assault causing bodily harm in connection with the beating of a 58-year-old woman in a Vancouver park."

During her second trial, a girl testified that Ellard revealed to her that she drownded Virk. Glowatski also came forward and said he witnessed Ellard drowning Virk. Despite this new information, the jury was deadlocked. A third trial in February 2005 finally led to a conviction with a life sentence and no chance for parole for the first seven years.

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