Story of Indian-American teen Reena Virk's murder that inspired Lily Gladstone’s ‘Under The Bridge’

April 18, 2024
Lily Gladstone’s performance in the streaming series ‘Under the Bridge’ has been receiving great response.

 Oscar-nominated actress Lily Gladstone’s performance in the streaming series ‘Under the Bridge’ has been receiving great response.

The actress portrays a cop in the miniseries, which is based on the brutal murder of Indian-origin girl Reena Virk.

Indian-origin actress Vritika Gupta essays the role of Reena in the series. Virk, who was murdered by her own friends and strangers, was born in Saanich, British Columbia, Canada, and died at the age of 14.

As a teenager, she struggled to fit in and was bullied from elementary school all the way to high school. She was self-conscious about her looks, and her strict religious parents, who converted from Hinduism to the Jehovah’s Witness religion, made things even more difficult for her.

On November 14, 1997, Reena, who struggled with FOMO almost three decades ago after it became a popular slang, was lured in by the promise of friendship for a gathering. Little did she know that what awaited her on the other side would be a horrific turn of events.

As Reena, portrayed by Vritika in ‘Under The Bridge,’ arrived at the designated place, her ‘friends’ were allegedly drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. She was swarmed by a group of six teenagers called the Shoreline Six. They first bullied her, with one of the girls stubbing out a cigarette on Virk’s forehead. She was later kicked and punched, sustaining several burn marks on her skin. It is also claimed that the attackers tried to set her hair on fire.

However, Virk somehow managed to bail out and started walking away to her house when she was intercepted by two people from the group. One girl from this pair knocked her head on a tree, after which she fell unconscious. She was then dragged by them below a bridge, where they continued to beat her before drowning her in the water.

The news of the murder unravelled a week after the incident, and attracted significant media coverage. Virk’s murder at the hands of teenagers is considered a watershed moment in Canada’s social history, as it caused a widespread moral panic over teenage girl violence in Canadian society.

The case, which escalated to ‘national tragedy’, saw the conviction of six teenagers for their participation in the homicide. As brutal as the murder was, the motive behind the same is said to be Reena’s involvement in spreading rumours about one of the girls from the Shoreline Six after she got her hands on the girl’s phonebook.

The stubbing of a cigarette on Virk’s forehead snowballed into a murder with the involvement of a loner teenager who became the prime accused in the case.

Reena’s brutal murder at the hands of a group of teens prompted people across the country to take a closer look at growing violence and bullying amongst young Canadians.

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