Dying to Belong, the 1997 Lifetime movie, is inspired by or based on several true story hazing cases, according to TV Crime Sky’s research by Traciy Curry-Reyes. The following are old notes about the possible basis for the Lifetime film. It took a while to do all the research for Lifetime’s Dying to Belong. The directors apparently pieced several hazing cases together. When these notes were first compiled in the early 2000s, few documented cases included women. It seems those first few stories served as the basis for the movie.
Dying to Belong Lifetime Movie True Story Synopsis/Plot
When a college girl’s friend is killed during a college hazing incident, she is determined to find out the truth about what really happened. The movie was released in 1997. Two real hazing cases inspired the making of the movie.
In the opening scene of Dying to Belong on Lifetime, a young college student runs behind a moving vehicle in a remote area. She desperately tries to leap onto the back of the car after realizing the girls are trying to leave her. This case happened in the seventies to a female pledging the Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority at a local college in the state of Illinois. I got a tip from a person who remembered the case. He said the girl’s name was Donna Bedinger, a 19-year-old Eastern Illinois college coed. The accident happened on March 24, 1970, at The Wrightsville Curve off route 130. On a dark, cold night, Donna Bedinger and another girl were told to get out of the car. Frightened, the girls ran behind the vehicle as it slowed and tried to get on top of it. Sadly, Donna Bedinger slipped, jumped, or fell from the car, and her head struck the pavement. She later died at a hospital.
The police investigation uncovered the following information.
Six passengers piled inside the car. Detectives interviewed the girls and were told no one knew Donna Bedinger had tried to jump on top of the car. It was ruled an accidental death, and no charges were filed.
The other case that inspired the movie had to do with a girl who was attending college at the University of Colorado. In 1985, she fell while attending a party and was not intoxicated at the time. This part was added in the movie. In the true story, no one was charged with her death. It was finally ruled as an accident.
Here are some really good resources about hazing and pledging deaths.
Book: Wrongs of Passage by Hank Nuwer and his website.
Dying To Belong (Lifetime True Story Movie Synopsis/Plot)
When a college girl’s friend is killed during a college sorority hazing incident, she is determined to find out the truth about what really happened. The movie was released in 1997. Two real hazing cases inspired the making of the movie.