Man Awaiting Murder Trial in Oregon Indicted for Another Murder in Alaska

Aaron Hague booking photo
Aaron Hague booking photo

On Friday a Grand Jury handed down a murder indictment against an Alaska man, Aaron Mitchell Hague, age 32, who is presently being held in a Portland jail awaiting trial in another murder that took place in that state in March of 2021.

According to authorities, Hague, and his alleged victim, 61-year-old John McClelland, worked together at a property management company in North Pole before McClelland’s disappearance in August 2020. Following his victim’s disappearance, Hague would use the victim’s bank card between the 14th and 16th of that month to purchase several items that included gaming equipment valued at $1,450.

Hague also used his victim’s phone to text the victim’s brother, telling the brother that he had fallen ill and needed money for medical bills. Authorities, by that time, seeking McClelland’s whereabouts, checked local hospitals to no avail.

On August 27th, McClelland’s vehicle was located, abandoned south of North Pole.

All efforts to locate McClelland or his remains came to naught and in July, 2021, a jury ruled that McClelland had most likely died by homicide in August 2020 and was presumed dead.

After McClelland’s disappearance, Hague made his way to Anchorage and ultimately the homeless shelter set up at the Sullivan Arena.

In August of that year, Hague made the acquaintance of 28-year-old Anthony Alan Alcorn of Ohio. Alcorn had come to Alaska from Ohio to work on a fishing boat. When that didn’t turn out, Alcorn ended up at the homeless shelter and became a bunkmate with Hague.  Known to Alcorn as Jesse, the identity of Aaron’s brother, the two would find odd jobs and construction work together.

John McClelland Photo: Alaska State Troopers
John McClelland Photo: Alaska State Troopers

A couple of weeks after moving into the shelter, Alcorn would discover his ID and other property missing and told his mother in Ohio it was probably a case of theft.

Troopers would track down Hague at the shelter in October and question him about McClelland’s disappearance. But Hague told them that he was Jesse and they were looking for Aaron, who he told them, was somewhere in Russia.

Soon after the visit by troopers, Hague packed up and left Anchorage for Oregon on October 21st, 2020. Using Alcorn’s identity, Hague flew to Seattle and then boarded a train for Oregon.

In time, Hague, who kept in touch with Alcorn and Alcorn’s mother as Jesse, coaxed Alcorn to travel to Oregon to work at a $26 an hour labor job and bought him a ticket. He convinced Alcorn’s mother that Alcorn needed an original birth certificate and original Social Security card for the job in Gresham. He also repeatedly asked Alcorn’s mother at that time if he had ever been arrested for a felony and if he had ever had his fingerprints taken.

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Alcorn arrived in Gresham on March 7th and messaged his mom that he was going to a hotel to get some rest. The following day, Alcorn contacted his mom via Facebook video as Alcorn and Hague were sightseeing. In the video, his mom saw the person she believed to be Jesse walking with her son into a heavily wooded area. That was the last time she would talk to him, by later that day, Alcorn would be dead.

Hague's second victim Anthony Alcorn of Ohio
Hague’s second victim Anthony Alcorn of Ohio

Thinking it strange that her son hadn’t contacted her as he generally spoke with her daily, she called him repeatedly on March 9th only to get no answer. She would later text him asking if he was working yet and got the reply, “Yes, loading trucks and trailers now after training,” the text would continue,  “Can’t talk. They are so serious about work it’s crazy.”

She would receive another text that night telling her that they had loaded up the trucks and heading out and explained to her that if he got caught making phone calls he would get fired. She would receive a final text on March 13th, saying, “Work is just doing what you are told. Food is good. Really good. … Got to go back to work, lunch is over”

A person walking in the wooded grove where Alcorn was murdered, would come across him on March 14th, that person called out but got no reply and assuming he was asleep left the area. The next day the same person was in the same area and saw Alcorn still laying there and on closer inspection, found that he was dead.

Investigators checked the body of the victim and found no ID or wallet. The victim had suffered blunt force trauma to both sides of his head and had jagged lacerations to his forehead above his right eye.

The next day Gresham Detective Brandon Crate returned to the wooded scene with a  photo of Alcorn in the hopes someone would recognize the man. Nearby, Crate would spot a man wearing headphones, smoking a cigarette, and drinking a Coors Lite. When shown the photo, the man who identified himself as Anton Vovk, said in a Russian accent, that he had never seen the man. 

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Several days went by until a fingerprint match would be made identifying him as Anthony Alcorn of Ohio and his family there was notified of his death.

On March 21st, another detective working an unrelated case was at the Days Inn & Suites on Southeast Stark Street and was looking at the registry when he spotted the victim’s name. It showed that he had arrived on March 18th and had booked a stay for four nights. The officer knew he had been dead for days and asked to see surveillance footage. As he looked at footage showing Hague and a female, the two emerged from their room and the investigator got photos of them.

A dive team checked the stream near the crime scene and located a square point shovel, consistent with the object used to kill Alcorn and of the type used at the brickyard where Hague had worked.

They were seen headed toward the TriMet bus and so contacted the agency to see if they could track them. They did and footage showed them disembarking later that day at the Gateway Transit Center.

A search warrant for the hotel room was requested and received and the next day authorities carried out a search. In the room they found muddy pants and mud-caked boots. The soles positively matched the footprint leading to the crime scene. Also found was a Coors Lite can on the floor.

As the search was being carried out, the woman that was staying there, Casey Brissett, returned to the room. When asked, she said she was staying there with her boyfriend whom she had met on the train months before. She also told them she worked at the Mutual Materials Co., a brickyard, located less than a half-mile from where the victim was located.

When queried about her boyfriend, she told investigators that he was Anthony Alcorn, but was from Russia and his real name was Anton Vovk. Immediately they recognized the name Vovk as the name of the man seeing drinking Coors Lite near the crime scene.

When shown a picture of Hague and Alcorn taken in Anchorage, she pointed to Hague saying that was her boyfriend Alcorn. She said she did not know the other man, the real Alcorn.

When checking at the brickyard, investigators would find that Hague had been working at the yard from December until February as Alcorn.

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When Brissett allowed investigators to look at her phone they were able to track Hague’s number and Alcorn’s number and found they were together after Alcorn got into Portland and also at the crime scene.

DNA evidence from multiple cigarette butts at the scene and near Alcorn’s body matched that of Hague.

When asked his whereabouts, she told the investigators that he had left Gresham for Alaska where he said he had found oilfield work.

Other investigative work of a Google account in Alcorn’s name following his death but before his death was made known showed searches for:

  • “anthony alcorn Gresham Oregon.”
  • “body found in Gresham.”
  • “Body on springwater trail.”
  • “Dead body found near me”
  • “Serial killer in Oregon 2021”

During his investigation, lead investigator Detective Justin Pick would, after entering “Anthony Alcorn” “Anton Vovk” and “Jesse Hague” find the Facebook page, “Save Alaska Missing” and searched the posts to find a picture of Aaron Hague who was posted as being sought for questioning. Following up, Pick sent all available photos of Hague to the troopers in Alaska and they were all confirmed to be Hague. Troopers told the investigator that they did not know his whereabouts.

Oregon investigators issued another BOLO for Hague and on March 30th they received a call reporting that he had been spotted by a TriMet video surveillance officer.

They made contact with Hague near the Space Age Gas Station and Hague identified himself as Anthony Alcorn. When searched, he had Alcorn’s ID, social security card and a Money Network bank card in Alcorn’s name. Also found on him at the time of his arrest was a second social security card issued to Aaron Mitchell Hague.

Following his arrest, Hague’s girlfriend granted authorities access to a storage unit. In the unit, they discovered all of Alcorn’s belongings that he had been wearing when he boarded to flight from Anchorage as well as his luggage, and a Coor Lite can. Surveillance footage showed the Brissett and Hague going to the storage unit on March 9th.

His trial in Oregon is scheduled to begin on July 25th.

In April, an Alaskan Grand Jury indicted Hague on charges of Murder and Identity Theft. Hague will face charges in the death of McClelland following the conclusion of that Oregon trial.