Is Dusty Pace Based on Reena Virk’s Real Friend? Where is She Now?

It was back in November 1997 when everything turned upside down in the Victoria area of British Columbia, Canada, after 14-year-old Reena Virk was bullied and beaten to death by her peers. The truth is she was just a rebel trying to fit in among a group of troubled teens, as explored in Hulu’s ‘Under the Bridge,’ only for a few missteps to result in her becoming a victim of girl violence. But alas, like her friend Dusty Pace in this 8-part original series (portrayed by actress-musician Aiyana Goodfellow), no one thought she could actually lose her life until it was already too late.

Dusty Pace is Inspired by Missy Grace Pleich

Since the aforementioned production is based upon an eponymous book by Rebecca Godfrey, it is undeniable that every character holds a significant level of truth behind them. However, it’s also true that Dusty never really existed, and while several aspects of her being are fictionalized, she is largely based upon a real-life individual by the name of Missy Grace Pleich. According to NBC’s ‘Dateline,’ the latter is the last of 13 siblings, so she always had a unique perspective on things such as affection, companionship, and love.

“I was the baby,” Missy said in the episode. “So, i didn’t have anybody at home… You could call it lucky, maybe, or not. By the time I was born, [my mother] was just so worn out she was just too tired from all the other kids. At the time, it was the greatest thing ever because I could just go do whatever I wanted, and she never said anything about it.” So, she did. In fact, Missy evolved into a stereotypical street kid – she drank, beat people up, and stole things until her family had had enough and sent her to a group home by the name of Seven Oaks.

However, this foster home was not the first time she’d ever come across Reena. As per her own narrative, they’d met back in sixth grade in school and had kind of connected over being outsiders. “She didn’t have a lot of friends,” Missy said. “She got picked on a lot. The main thing people said about her when we were in school was she was too fat… She was also very quiet… she kind of kept to herself unless she knew you. It made me sad, but I never said anything about it. I didn’t stick up for her. I didn’t say anything, i just let it happen. She never mentioned it ever [wither, and then] I ran away from home.”

Missy admittedly used to leave home a lot, just for it to result in her mother placing her into foster care, which is where she connected with Reena after the latter allegedly falsely accused her father of sexual assault so as to be away from home. But alas, things between them grew bitter once the latter slept with her boyfriend, resulting in a nasty verbal back and forth between them, which is part of why she agreed to be a part of Nicole Cook’s revenge plan against her after Renee said stupid stuff about her to her contacts. She was the one to call Reena and ask her to come out on the fateful night.

Moreover, once Nicole started an altercation by stubbing a cigarette on Reena’s forehead, Missy participated by getting a few physical hits in, too, but she soon left the area alongside Nicole to make it back to Seven Oaks in time for curfew. Though Missy does vividly remember seeing Reena following the attack: “She was walking very slow, and she came up, and she went back down. She saw everybody. I don’t think she saw me. I was quite far away.” She thinks her once friend was planning to catch a bus home but was in pain and was waiting for everybody to leave so that she could do so without any further issues.

But then, the next morning, Missy claims Nicole’s best friend Kelly Ellard called Seven Oaks and bragged about following Reena and killing her while their friend Warren Glowatski just sat and watched. Then, per her narrative, the three of them made their way to the scene, where the latter again said, “I finished her off. I dragged her into the water. We have to look around and see if we can find any of her stuff.” They thus did so, just to uncover and then hide their victim’s shoes – neither of them ever went to the police on their own accord, but they were all in custody by the end of the month and faced justice.

Missy Pleich Now Leads a Quiet Life as a Mother

According to reports, Missy has always been quite remorseful of her actions because they resulted in Reena’s passing, which is why she received a relatively lenient sentence of less than a year in prison. It hence comes as no surprise she has since preferred to lead a private life well away from the limelight, but we do know she did turn over a new leaf and eventually even became an affectionate provider for her own two children. In other words, her past does haunt her – “it’s was my fault,” she said in the ‘Dateline’ episode. “Because she trusted me, and if i didn’t ask her [to come out that fateful night], she wouldn’t have gone.” – but she is trying her best to move on.

Read More: Is Lily Gladstone’s Cam Bentland Based on a Real Police Officer?