The mother of Reena Virk says she’s hoping the woman who drowned her teenage daughter nearly two decades ago will finally admit her guilt while seeking early release from prison this week.
Kelly Ellard was 15 years old when she and a group of teens, mostly girls, cruelly swarmed and attacked 14-year-old Virk under Victoria's Craigflower Bridge in November 1997.
Virk staggered to a nearby shore, but she was followed by 16-year-old Warren Glowatski and Ellard, who knocked her unconscious against a tree before holding her head underwater, drowning her.
Her body was found floating in the Gorge Waterway a week later.
Ellard, now 33, is eligible for day parole and will learn her fate in a hearing Tuesday.
Virk’s mother says her family has moved forward after the horrific murder, but she still wants to hear daughter's killer say something she hasn’t ever before – that she’s guilty.
“It definitely has made it harder, and it’s kind of like this is the last piece,” said Suman Virk. “She’s the only one left who’s still incarcerated and has not admitted her guilt. I think until that happens, this is not going to be over.”
Three other girls were convicted of assault in the case and Glowatski was found guilty of second-degree murder.
Ellard was found guilty in her third trial for second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison after two previous trials resulted in a successful appeal, then a hung jury.
Suman said while Glowatski will never be able to bring her daughter back, he at least testified against Ellard, participated in restorative justice while in prison and has accepted responsibility for his part in the murder.
“The fact that he did that helped us to move forward, and also helped in the process of supporting him and then forgiving him for his part in taking Reena’s life,” she said. “It was not an easy process and it wasn’t something that was done hastily. It took time to come to terms with his actions.”
Glowatksi was granted full parole in 2010 with the support of the Virk family.
But even if Ellard is granted parole, she has a long way to go before she can begin to make amends, Suman said.
“I think that she needs to get some sort of counselling and show some action where she’s truly changed herself,” she said. “Admitting it is not enough, she has to go on and prove that she’s really sorry. I think that’s what we need to hear.”
Ellard’s troubles have been documented following the murder.
She was charged with assault causing bodily harm following an attack on a woman in a New Westminster park in 2004, but the charges were stayed after she was found guilty of Virk’s murder.
She also had violent outbursts while incarcerated, throwing food and kicking chairs, according to court documents.
If Ellard is granted day parole she would live in a halfway house in the community.
Suman said she won’t be at the parole hearing, but is hoping to hear an admission of guilt.
“It would be fantastic. It would be tremendous,” she said “Although we’ll never be intact, for her to admit her guilt would, like I said, have this all finished.”
The parole board will make its decision in Tuesday’s hearing.
With files from CTV Vancouver Island’s Robert Buffam and The Canadian Press