What happened to Reena Virk? | The tragic story of the murder of a teenager by bullies

Reena Virk

What happened to Reena Virk?

Reena Virk was a 14-year-old Canadian girl who was brutally beaten and murdered by a group of teenagers in Saanich, British Columbia, Canada, in November 1997. Reena was going through quite an ordeal leading up to her murder, as she was experiencing severe bullying by her peers, with warnings being ignored. 

This all reached a crescendo on the evening of the 14th of November 1997, when Reena was invited to a party by a friend near the Craigflower Bridge in the city of Saanich. During the party, the group of teenagers drank alcohol and smoked marijuana. Virk was later surrounded by a group, and the abuse started. One girl stubbed a cigarette out on Virk’s forehead, while others stood by and didn’t intervene. The teenager was then repeatedly hit, punched, and kicked. 

Virk walked away from the incident, but she was followed by 2 members of the group known as Kelly Marie Ellard and Warren Glowatski. They dragged Virk to a different part of the bridge and continued to beat her. Ellard allegedly held Virk’s head under the water, before rolling her unconscious body into the water.

Rumours of Reena Virk’s murder spread throughout the community after some of the teens began talking about what happened. 8 days later, police used a helicopter to find Virk’s dead body washed ashore at a major waterway on Vancouver Island. The coroner ruled that Virk died of drowning, but an autopsy later revealed Virk’s head injuries were bad enough to have caused her death.


Who were the killers and what happened to them? 

Reena Virk was murdered by 7 perpetrators – Nicole Cook, Nicole Patterson, Missy Grace Pleich, Courtney Keith, Gail Ooms, Kelly Marie Ellard, and Warren Glowatski. All admitted to being involved in Virk’s death. In February 1998, 3 of the teenage girls pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm. 3 more girls were convicted of assault causing bodily harm. All 6 teenage girls were sentenced for their roles in the beating of Virk in April and May of 1998. In June 1999, a male involved in the attack was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 7 years.

In March 2000, Kelly Marie Ellard was convicted of second-degree murder in adult court, where she was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 5 years. Ellard would end up having 2 more trials due to issues in the way she was questioned during the investigation. The second trial resulted in a mistrial before she was eventually found guilty of second-degree murder and given a life sentence with the possibility of parole in 7 years in 2005. 


Where are Reena Virk’s killers now? 

  • In June 2010, Glowatski was released on parole. He took responsibility for his crime while in prison and enrolled in a restorative justice program that included a meeting with the Virk family before his release. 
  • In January 2017, Ellard was denied parole but later that same year, she was granted day parole. The following year, Ellard’s day parole was extended. In 2019, Ellard was granted overnight leaves and extended day parole. Ellard had a child who was conceived during a conjugal visit with her ex-convict boyfriend. Ellard had a second child with the same partner conceived while on day parole. 
  • Reena’s family was instrumental in raising awareness of bullying in schools.
  • Reena’s mother, Suman Virk, sadly died in June 2018, at the age of 58, after a choking accident in a restaurant.

A drama series about the case is set to premiere on Hulu in 2024, called Under The Bridge, taking inspiration from Rebecca Godfrey’s 2019 book of the same name. There is not yet an official release date for the series. 


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