Who killed Reena Virk in Under the Bridge? True story explored

Who killed Reena Virk in Under the Bridge? True story explored (Image via Hulu)
Who killed Reena Virk in Under the Bridge? True story explored (Image via Hulu)

Inspired by true events and Rebecca Godfrey's book of the same name, Quinn Shephard's compelling American true crime drama miniseries Under the Bridge explores the tragic circumstances behind the death of 14-year-old Indian-Canadian Reena Virk, who is attacked viciously by her peers.

Two of the eight teenagers, Kelly Marie Ellard and Warren Glowatski, involved in the attacks were charged with her murder and sentenced as adults.

The series, which premiered on April 17, 2024, centers on the subsequent findings by writer Rebecca Godfrey (played by Riley Keough) and police detective Cam Bentland (portrayed by Lily Gladstone) as they investigate the terrifying details of the night of Reena's murder.


The true story of Under the Bridge

Hulu's Under the Bridge offers a dramatized retelling of the tragic murder of Reena Virk, prompting a closer examination of the real-life events and their wider implications, which occurred on November 14, 1997, under the Craigflower Bridge in Saanich, Canada.

According to Rebecca Godfrey's book, that night, Reena attended a party near Shoreline School but was forced to leave by the police. Subsequently, she found herself at the location where the first assault took place. She was reportedly beaten up by peers and was left alone, injured.

Later, as Reena attempted to walk home across the bridge, she was subjected to a second vicious attack by Kelly Ellard and Warren Glowatski. Both teens relentlessly beat Reena, even after she fell to the ground, and ultimately dragged her to the water's edge, where Ellard drowned Reena.

Although it was initially determined that Reena Virk died from drowning, a subsequent autopsy uncovered severe head injuries significant enough to have been the cause of her death.

The initial attack involved eight teenagers, while several others witnessed the violence, according to The Canadian Encyclopedia. Investigations led to the identification of six individuals Nicole Cook, Nicole Patterson, Missy Grace Pleich, Courtney Keith, Gail Ooms, and an unnamed individual, termed the ‘Shoreline Six’ by the media.

Three pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm, while the remaining three were convicted after trial. Notably, Kelly Ellard and Warren Glowatski were charged as adults, separate from the other six, for their direct involvement in Reena's murder.


Reasons behind the attack

In her investigations, Rebecca Godfrey uncovered the probable motive behind the attack on Reena and her subsequent murder, as detailed in her book Under the Bridge. Missy Pleich held resentment towards Reena because her ex-boyfriend was involved with the latter.

Nicole harbored a grudge against Reena for allegedly spreading rumors about her and was good friends with Kelly Ellard, who was one of the two people (Warren Glowatski being the other) charged with Reena’s murder.

Read more: All Under the Bridge characters in real life & where they are today


Differences between the series and real events

In both the book and television series, Godfrey employed the pseudonyms Josephine, Dusty, Willow, Laila, Maya, and Eve for the Shoreline Six. Inferring from the sequence of events and the series’ Wikipedia cast list, Josephine Bell corresponds to Nicole Cook, while Missy Pleech is Dusty Pace.

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Interestingly, Kelly Marie Ellard and Warren Glowatski were the only individuals whose real names were utilized in both the book and the series. In an interview with Decider, Quinn Shephard said,

“We had access to pretty much every single article that had ever been written about the crime, we found things that weren’t in Under the Bridge and weren’t in Manjit’s book. We tried to zoom out as much as possible and include every pivotal detail that might have gone unturned.”

Under the Bridge is available for streaming on Hulu.

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Edited by Tiasha
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