Eight teenagers, seven of them girls, were charged Monday in the slaying of a 14-year-old girl whose body was found in a local waterway after a week of rumors.
One girl was charged with second-degree murder. The boy and six other girls were charged with aggravated assault, all in juvenile court.
Government lawyer Don Morrison told the court that the victim was assaulted by a group of girls and then savagely beaten near a bridge. Her body was then dumped in the water.
There apparently were two attacks - one by the group followed by a final, deadly one, said juvenile prosecutor Steve Fudge.
Just four of the defendants appeared at Monday’s hearing, all of them in tears. The girl accused of murder and the boy were not among them. Three were released to their families.
The names of the teens - ages 14 to 16 - were withheld because they are minors. Some of the youngsters have been in trouble before, Fudge said.
The victim, Reena Virk, was “generally a good kid, never in any real trouble, She just got involved with the wrong crowd,” an unidentified source close to the victim’s family told the Victoria Times-Colonist.
The source described the slain teen as an occasional runaway who did not get along with her parents.
The girl was from Saanich, a middle-class suburb of about 110,000 people.
In an interview with the Times-Colonist, Suman Virk said her daughter called her just hours before she was killed to say she wanted to come home.
She said she didn’t know if her daughter wanted to stay the night, or come home for good.
“We told her there were dangers out there to try and keep her safe,” said Manjeet Virk, the victim’s father.
“In this imperfect system, something can go wrong. As parents, all we have been doing is trying to do our jobs to the best of our ability.”
Authorities believe the ninth-grader was killed and her body dumped in the Gorge Waterway in Saanich on Nov. 14, the day she was reported missing.
No information from an autopsy was expected before today, Saanich police Constable Chris Horsley said.
The sister of one of the accused offered a startling account of what happened the night of Reena’s death.
After a group of teens gathered for a party, a fight broke out when someone stubbed out a lit cigarette on the victim’s forehead, said the 27-year-old woman, who was not identified by Canadian Press.
That attack was prompted because “Reena was saying a whole bunch of stuff about the accused,” CP quoted the sister as saying. “That was the motive, she was supposed to be spreading rumors.”
When the fight ended, most of the girls went to a nearby bus stop. The victim followed them, then turned and went back to the bridge, the sister said.
Later, a boy and a girl met the victim there, broke her back, her neck and her arms so she couldn’t swim, the woman told reporters outside the courthouse.