TV & Movies

Who Killed Reena Virk? Under The Bridge Revisits Her Murder

The Hulu true crime series sheds light on a tragic 1997 death.

Vritika Gupta as Reena Virk in 'Under the Bridge.' Photo via Hulu
Bettina Strauss/Hulu

Hulu’s new true crime drama, Under the Bridge, is inspired by Rebecca Godfrey’s book of the same name — which, in turn, is based on the 1997 murder of Canadian teen Reena Virk.

Godfrey, who passed away in 2022 and is credited as an executive producer on the series, wasn’t just interested in who killed Reena Virk but the psychology of her attackers, who were also teenagers. “I think they constructed indifference publicly as a form of armor,” Godfrey told Electric Literature in 2019. “But in truth, they were horrified and haunted by the fact that Reena Virk had died because of something they did or didn’t do one evening.”

The Under the Bridge author (portrayed by Riley Keough in the series) grew up in the same small town where Virk was killed. When reporting for her 2005 book, Godfrey returned to British Columbia to talk to some of the people involved in the violent crime.

What Happened To Reena Virk?

As Godfrey detailed in Vice, Virk and her attackers were among a large group of teenagers that had gathered behind a local school one November night.

A smaller group began attacking Virk, with one girl (identified by Godfrey as “Josephine” due to a court-ordered publication ban of her real name) reportedly retaliating against the 14-year-old victim for spreading rumors about her.

Bettina Strauss/Hulu

Josephine and five other girls were convicted of assaulting Virk, per the CBC. But after they beat Virk and walked away, two teens continued the attack. Prosecutor Don Morrison said they “followed Reena over the bridge, beat her again, then dragged her body into the Gorge where she was forcibly drowned,” Godfrey wrote.

Two People Were Convicted Of Murder

These last two teens were Kelly Ellard and Warren Glowatski, and they were both convicted of second-degree murder. Glowatski was sentenced to life in prison in 1999, but it took several trials to convict Ellard, who was ultimately given a life sentence, too.

Ellard said at a 2017 hearing that she wanted to bring Virk to the water to “splash water on her face” and “wake [her] up,” per the Vancouver Sun — disputing Glowatski’s claim that she purposefully drowned the young girl. Still, she apologized to the Virk family.

“I don’t think sorry is good enough,” she said. “I mean, their life is completely ruined. I feel terribly guilty and ashamed and I wish there was something I could do to make it better.”

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