Quinhagak girl was assaulted and murdered, charges say

Ida “Girlie” Aguchak (Family photo)

Charges filed Tuesday in state Superior Court show what investigators think happened in the abduction and death of 10-year-old Ida “Girlie” Aguchak in the Western Alaska village of Quinhagak earlier this month.

They say Ida Aguchak texted her mother the night of March 15, saying she was about to walk home. That was around 10:23 p.m. Her father, Luther Aguchak Jr., said Ida was playing with friends and always came home when her parents told her to. 

But Aguchak never came home. The next day, the community went searching and a tribal police officer notified Alaska State Troopers. 

They found her body later that night. Bethel-based troopers, along with investigators from the Alaska Bureau of Investigation, flew to Quinhagak and began questioning residents. Meanwhile, tribal police imposed a 9 p.m. curfew.

Investigators sent Ida’s body to Anchorage for an autopsy. The medical examiner found evidence of sexual assault.

When they first interviewed 18-year-old Jordan Mark, he denied having seen Ida at all when he was taking his friends on a four-wheeler to the village’s old airport, according to the charges. But Mark allowed the investigators to take a sample of his DNA. Mark’s father told investigators that his son had returned home around 11 p.m., roughly 30 minutes after he dropped off his friends at the old fish plant.

The lab found Mark’s DNA on Ida’s body, and investigators say data from Ida’s phone showed she was near the dump around the same time that Mark told them he was heading home after dropping off his friends.

Investigators interviewed Mark again on March 22, a week after Ida went missing. This time, he told them he had seen Ida on his way home, according to the charges.

Mark said he offered Ida a ride on his way back home after dropping off his friends, the charges said. He said he took Ida on a trail past her house, held her when she tried to run away and then strangled and sexually assaulted her. Mark said he took her body to the village dump and put her in a dumpster, according to the charging document. Troopers also found evidence that Mark stabbed Ida. Mark told the investigators he threw a knife and Ida’s cell phone out onto the tundra.

Mark was charged with murder, sexual abuse of a minor, kidnapping and evidence tampering. He made his initial court appearance Tuesday in Bethel Superior Court, where a judge set his bail at $5 million cash and ordered him not to return to Quinhagak.