It’s not every day that you find someone you want to marry online, especially from a faraway country. Even rarer is finding out that the person you plan on marrying has been living with his girlfriend for years. On top of that, add an ultimatum and an eventual murder.
The most bizarre aspect of Anna Repkina’s story is not that her killer regretted it, but that he actually tried to find a way to get her back – back to life. How? Well, time travel, of course.
This is the strange but true story of a woman who was killed when a man was faced with a very difficult proposition.
Who Wanted Her Dead?
In the spring of 2017, Anna Repkina was found lifeless on a middle-of-nowhere logging road in Oregon. She was 5,500 miles from her home (in Moscow), so it was only natural that finding her dead body raised many questions. What was she doing there? Who wanted her dead and why?
An American she met online. The two met, enjoyed a whirlwind romance, and got engaged. Anna then made the big step of moving to the U.S. Little did she know…
“There’s Something You Need to See”
On April 17, 2017, Benton County deputy district attorneys, Ryan Joslin and Amie Matusko, got an urgent call that a body had been found. The body was lying out in the Alsea area of Oregon, on a remote logging road.
Joslin and Matusko needed to get a real sense of the scene – to understand it better than just looking at photos. “Not too many people are gonna be up in that area,” Joslin said. The fact that the body was found so quickly was “pretty extraordinary.” A local caretaker was out walking his dog when he stumbled upon the body.
A Lucky but Devastating Find
Lead detective Lieutenant Chris Duffitt noted how this caretaker happened to be walking his dog “on this road on a day and a time in a place that he really should’ve never been.” In other words, they were lucky to find her body as it could very easily have gone unseen for who knows how long.
The body was later identified as 27-year-old Anna Repkina. Evidently, she had been shot. Anna was intelligent, and a lot of people liked her. She had an office job working for Ikea. She loved to travel and had a lot going for her.
Single and Ready to Mingle Online
So how did a Russian woman with a seemingly good life end up dead on a road nearly 5,500 miles from home? According to Matusko, Anna had broken up with her boyfriend of seven years and was looking for a real connection.
A year before her body was found, she was freshly single. She did what most people around the world do these days: she went online. Anna started to look for a relationship online and joined a Russian dating site. She soon found what she was looking for, only the man she was interested in lived halfway across the world.
From Chats to Video Calls
Anna met 26-year-old William Hargrove from Oregon and the two started chatting every day. It went from Facebook chat messages to daily video calls. They realized that they had a lot in common, like the bands they listened to and the things they found funny.
A regular girl with a sense of humor, she would send him funny memes. Over thousands of messages, Will and Anna really connected and started discussing a future together. The only problem was that one of them would need to relocate.
A Dreamy, Snow-Covered Future Together
Obviously, the one who needed to make the move was Anna. Just take a look at one of their conversations on Facebook:
Will: You are absolutely amazing. We are going to have soooo much fun together..
Anna: (Smiley Face). True
Will: Daydreaming yet?
Anna: Yes) it’s wonderful)
Will: Tell me?
Anna: Difficult to imagine, but it should be very romantic and beautiful
Will: Snow covered evergreens, snow on the ground, a tent hidden slightly in the trees of our clearing, a good size fire roaring, and you in my arms.
A Guy With a Gift of Gab
Jamie Klotz, Will’s friend and past roommate, said Will had a “gift of gab” – he “could talk a very good game.” Jamie and Will would “nerd out” on things like cars and comic books. Jamie said Will was a likeable guy, a “jokester.”
Will, who worked as a mechanic at a local car dealership, spent his free time with his friends at the Peacock Bar and Grill. One of those friends was a guy named Joseph Thompson. The two would play pool there on Sunday nights, hanging out and singing karaoke.
A Player? Not Necessarily
Joseph shared how on many nights at the bar, women would simply walk up from the bar and sit next to him. “He was very charismatic. He had the personality, the presence.” Was he a player? According to Joseph, “Not necessarily.”
The two were close – like brothers. Will and Joseph were both in the military. “A lot of the training and stuff that we had went through was similar and it helped pull us together,” Joseph said. While Joseph was in the Army, Will was in the Marines–or so he believed.
All Things Russian
Joseph would come to realize that the guy whom he felt was like a brother to him was someone else entirely. Joseph came to question everything Will had told him, including that he used to be stationed in Russia.
Will seemed to like all things Russian, which made his online relationship with Anna right up his alley. After their discussions of a future together, Anna took the leap and made a trip to America. She just had to meet the man of her dreams.
The Two Portlands
In December of 2016, Anna flew to Oregon to spend the holidays with Will. Naturally, she wanted to see if their virtual love fared as well in reality. The pair ended up spending a couple of weeks together.
The tickets were purchased, and the wheels were in motion. But there was an unexpected detour… literally. Anna mistakenly confused Portland, Maine for Portland, Oregon. So, she was now stranded in Maine. “Who knows you have two damn Portlands,” she wrote to Will on Facebook at the time.
The Romantic (Cheesy) Messages
“Honestly, I didn’t even know that,” Will replied. Amidst the chaos, their messagesbuilt up the anticipation of finally being together. Will’s messages were nothing short of romantic (or cheesy, depending on who’s reading).
Will: That’s where you belong, baby. In the clouds. My Angel
Anna: Be ready, I will cry
Will: When? When I propose to you?
Anna: When I see you.
Eventually, Anna made it to Oregon and into the arms of her very own American Prince Charming.
He Put a Ring on It
During her visit, Anna posted photos of her and Will, including their trips to the coast and Will’s cars. It was clear: Anna came to America for love. And love is what she got. By the end of her 10-day visit, she had a ring on her finger.
She came to the States single, and she went back home engaged. The plan was for her to go back home, make the necessary arrangements and move to Oregon. They were going to get married and live out their cozy dreams.
Will’s Big Secret
Needless to say, Anna was excited about the engagement and the dress she would wear on her wedding day. She could never have thought that Will was keeping a secret from her. But he was, and it was a very big, unforgivable secret.
Will’s secret was a 33-year-old woman named Michelle Chavez. Michelle, at the time, was Will’s girlfriend. And, as it turns out, Michelle had a secret of her own. In 2015, Michelle was living with her husband and two kids in Albany, Oregon.
Meet Michelle, Will’s Girlfriend
Their marriage was on the rocks. “Our relationship, at that point in time, really wasn’t one. It was like roommates that just happened to be married. Slept in the same bed, but that was about it. Didn’t really talk,” Michelle admitted.
She met Will one day while she was working as a cab driver during a time in the summer when things were slow. She was at a local bar, waiting for people to call to pick them up in her cab.
Short but Full of Warmth
Michelle told CBS News that her first impression of him was how short he was. But Michelle was unhappy, and this guy made her “feel like you were in the sun” when he spoke to her. He made her feel beautiful – like she was wanted, unlike her husband.
It didn’t take long for Michelle and Will to become more than friends. A year into their relationship, things took an atypical turn: Will rented a spare bedroom in Michelle’s house. That’s right – the man she was having an affair with moved into the same home she shared with her husband and kids.
Playing With Fire
Whether Michelle’s husband knew of his wife’s relationship with Will is unclear. But regardless, Will was paying $300 a month and bought his own food, unless the food Michelle was cooking smelled good, and then he gladly ate it.
Michelle even gave Will a promise ring – her own wedding ring – as a promise that she would leave her husband soon. But a promise wasn’t enough for him. He was still roaming around on dating sites. According to Jamie (the former roommate), Will was hoping to speed things along by making Michelle jealous.
Anna, Meet Michelle. Michelle, Meet Anna
When Anna came to visit Will over Christmas, they stayed at Michelle’s house. Anna was none the wiser. But Michelle knew what was going on. Will even introduced them to each other, and Michelle played nice.
But Michelle wasn’t as welcoming when Anna came back a few months later, on March 1, 2017, with the intent of becoming Will’s wife. Michelle didn’t want Anna in her house. So, Will and Anna moved into an apartment in Corvallis, a small college town nearby. Will was working, but Anna was still unemployed.
Sharing the Same Man
Michelle said she just wanted to be happy, but Will was turning out to be “a bit of challenge for everyone.” With his fiancée now in America, Will split his nights between his two lovers. Anna didn’t know where her fiancée was heading off to all the time.
She would call Will’s friends to find him (“Do you know where he is? What’s going on?”). She was becoming suspicious. “This man was a fraud,” Joslin stated. Matusko added, “He wanted to be something greater than he was.”
That Ring Looks Familiar…
Will told a number of people that he was in the Armed Forces. Turns out he never was. Oh, and that ring he put on Anna’s finger? That was Michelle’s – the one she gave him as her promise. “Her and I had friended each other on Facebook. And then I saw her wearing my wedding ring,” Michelle said.
He told Anna that the ring belonged to his grandmother and had “sentimental value.” As you can imagine, Anna was shocked to get a Facebook message from Michelle on March 22, about their mutual lover.
Michelle: If we are going to continue to share him…
Anna: Stop being a b***h
For all Anna knew, Michelle was the crazy ex-girlfriend. She swiftly told Michelle to get out of her and Will’s lives.
Michelle: I am happy to show you just how much of one I can be.
Michelle explained that she wasn’t trying to be threating – just “mouthy.” Three days later, Anna and Will headed to the coast for their wedding ceremony. She had brought a wedding dress with her from Russia. On the way, Will made a stop at Walmart.
Everything Was Going as Planned
It was at Walmart that Will bought their wedding bands, as his bride-to-be waited in the car. While he was buying the rings, he was on the phone with Michelle, discussing whether or not they were going to see each other that night – his wedding night.
Michelle didn’t know he was buying rings, though. She also didn’t know what Will was actually planning. And neither did Anna. You see, they weren’t actually heading to a wedding. They did indeed go to the beach, but the officiant didn’t show up.
A Trip Down the (McDonald’s) Aisle
After a short phone call, he told Anna and their witnesses that the officiant couldn’t make it. As Lt. Duffitt explained, in reality, Will called a couple of video game stores to make it look like calling a wedding official.
The truth is Will never got a marriage license. He didn’t set anything up. The hopeful bride had only one shot of her that day – picking up a meal at a McDonald’s drive-thru. The surveillance video is the only photo taken of Anna on her “wedding day.”
He Had to Make a Choice
While Anna had her heart set on a rescheduled wedding date, Michelle gave Will an ultimatum. “I didn’t want anything bad to happen to her. I just didn’t want her here,” Michelle later clarified. By April 2017, Will had to make a choice. He had a deadline, too: April 19.
Will chose Michelle. According to Matusko, Michelle put a lot of pressure on Will to make his choice. One minute she would text him, “Clean out your stuff and get out,” and the next minute she would send, “I love you, I wanna be together, but we can’t do that if she’s here.”
Four Days Until the Deadline
Will told her that he tried telling Anna to leave, but that she just wouldn’t go. To Anna, Michelle was the crazy ex. To Michelle, Anna was the girl who just couldn’t get a hint. And then, on the night of April 15, four days before the dreaded deadline, Michelle was supposed to have dinner with Will at his apartment.
At around 8 p.m., Will told Michelle that dinner was off. Anna showed up. He would take care of it. According to Detective Chris Dale, Michelle and Will exchanged over 13,000 texts during their relationship.
A Critical Text Message
Among their texts, the one sent on April 15 was critical: “I will have this permanently fixed by 18:00 tomorrow,” he wrote Michelle. “Tomorrow” was Easter Sunday. Obsessed, Michelle kept texting and calling Will, but he turned off his phone.
In a voicemail to Will at around 2 a.m., Anna said, “I guess you made your choice. OK.” An hour later: “I’ll let you be. Why? I just wanna know why. I’ll let you be. But I just wanna know why.” Michelle spent Easter Sunday crying at her mother’s house.
He Had Until Midnight
Meanwhile, Will was facing the dilemma of losing his car insurance, which meant losing his car loan, which meant his car could be repossessed. He asked for an extension on the payment – until the 21st. But the insurance company couldn’t change the dates.
He had until midnight to make the payment. At 4:30 p.m., he called Michelle. He told her that he was out on the coast – that he was on his way back and that he almost hit a deer, ran off the road and had a flat tire. He needed help.
His Cover Story
Michelle recalls him sounding “shaken” and “sad.” Michelle drove out to Alsea to meet him at a convenience store where he was waiting for her. When she arrived, Will told her his cover story.
As Will’s story goes, after an argument with Anna, she took her suitcases and walked out. Pleased to hear that the Russian obstacle was out of her way, Michelle and Will got into his car and drove around, before stopping for a quickie… a round of make-up sex in the front seat of his car…
From ATM to ATM
Michelle then returned to her family’s Easter celebration. As for Will, he made a few stops on his way home. The first was to an ATM, where he withdrew money from Anna’s bank account. He took out $200 and engaged in conversation with some employees.
Surveillance footage shows Will hugging one of them and crying about how his girlfriend had left him. He then went to a second ATM; this time to withdraw $600 of Anna’s money. Then he deposited $160 into his bank account. He called his insurance company to make that desperate payment.
Evidence or Trash?
The day after Easter Sunday, Anna Repkina was found with a shotgun wound to the back of the head. Her body was found among fast food bags, cigarette boxes, and candy wrappers. Was the trash evidence or simply garbage? Investigators had to find out.
While investigators started working on the case, Will was sending Anna texts (“Just let me know you are safe?”), making it seem like he didn’t know where she was. He then started a deep dive into the rabbit hole of the internet. His search: time travel.
Asking for a Friend
“I need to learn about time travel. I need to correct a horrible mistake,” Will sent in a WhatsApp message to someone. He was so desperate that he was sending messages to strangers on WhatsApp, under the guise that he was “asking for a friend.”
Will: April 16th my best friend made a mistake. I want to go back to keep from losing the woman that should be my wife.
He even offered up a reward: his soul (“I’d honestly sell my soul”). Aside from his bizarre internet activity, he also went on a shopping spree.
One Man’s Trash Is Another Investigator’s Treasure
Will bought – with Anna’s money – candy, video games and toys, including a “hundred-and-something dollar set of Legos from a Walmart,” Lt. Duffitt told CBS News. Will also reached out to a friend named Kevin Thomas.
He told Kevin that he had been trying to distract himself by spending money. By April 19, investigators struck a lead. In the trash next to Anna’s body was a KFC receipt from three days prior, showing a crucial time stamp. The KFC location told the investigators that a car pulled up that day, and two purchases were made from that car.
His KFC “Brother”
One purchase was made with a debit card registered to the name Kevin Thomas. The other was made with cash. The investigators immediately headed to Kevin’s home in Corvallis. Kevin told them that he and his brother go to KFC on Fridays.
What was his brother’s name? “Uh, Will Hargrove,” Kevin replied. Kevin had met Will at the Peacock Bar and Grill. Like Joseph, Kevin called Will his “brother.” Once Kevin was at the sheriff’s office, he offered a valuable piece of information. A few weeks prior, Will asked him for something… his shotgun.
The Jig Is Up
Kevin said that Will didn’t say why he needed it – just that he was going to “go shooting in the woods and just kind of blow off some steam.” What’s more is Will still hadn’t returned the gun to his “brother.”
With that, the detectives headed straight to Michelle’s house, where Will was staying. Will was the one who answered the door. Will lied, telling the detectives that he and Michelle drove up to Alsea together on Easter Sunday. He said he stopped at the store to buy some cigarettes.
His Story for the Cops
“Did you dump some trash there when you were there?” Lt. Duffitt asked him. “Yeah, I did. On the side of the building. On the side of the general store,” Will responded. On the way to the sheriff’s office, Will texted Michelle to make sure their stories matched.
Will: Picked you up at your mom’s, drove to Alsea general store and drove back.
Will was asked what he knew about Anna Repkina. “Almost nothing,” he stated. He told them that he had met her in downtown Corvallis. He called Anna “psychotic,” claiming that they went on two dates before he decided she wasn’t for him.
The Psycho Girl Defense
“I told her it wasn’t gonna be anything more than that, and that I was happy to keep hanging out with her but that was all it was gonna be,” Will said during his questioning. When was this? “Uh, last time I saw her was middle of March.”
He then said that after their two dates, Anna posted on Facebook that they were engaged. “Oh, yeah. And it brought hell down upon me,” Will shared. He then brought up Michelle’s name. That’s when the detectives stopped beating around the bush…
Fess Up, Hargrove
Duffitt: So, Will, your trash was found where somebody was killed.
Will: I’m sorry. What?
Duffitt: Okay. That’s what we’re talking about here.
Will: You guys are looking at me for this?
Duffitt: Your stuff was found at a scene where somebody died… Talking to you there’s a lot of inconsistencies with your story about what — what happened.
That’s when Will stopped and asked for a lawyer.
Will: No offense, guys. You’ve been really kind, and I like you and I don’t mind that, but the moment that you say somebody was killed out there then no, I – ju – ju – just no.
What About Michelle?
Will was then cuffed and put under arrest for the murder of Anna Repkina. But a major question was raised: was it really Will? Or was it Michelle who pulled the trigger? Hours after Will was arrested, Michelle was brought in for questioning.
Michelle: Can you tell me what this is about though?
Right off the bat, she told them that Will texted her to say that they had driven to Alsea together.
Det. Eric Glass: And he picked you up at your mom’s house at that time?
Michelle: He did.
Michelle then backtracked and admitted that what she had just stated was false.
Fess Up, Chavez
Michelle: That’s a little bit of a lie. He called me, he was gonna pick me up and then he didn’t.
They told her that Will had just been arrested. According to the investigators, Michelle didn’t seem at all surprised that her boyfriend was up for murder.
When asked why she wasn’t upset, she told the police, “I am very upset right now. I don’t understand how that can be a person that I have spent the last year-and-a-half with.” A year later, in July 2018, Will was officially indicted. The defense tried to spin an entirely different theory…
The Defense’s Story: It Was Michelle
Their theory was that Michelle pulled the trigger. The defense made the case that Will took Michelle up to the spot for the parties of this love triangle to have a conversation – for Anna and Michelle to “talk it out.” The lawyers explained how Michelle then took the gun out from him and shot Anna.
There were pieces of evidence that raised some eyebrows. For one thing, Michelle ended up with Anna’s phone. Michelle blames Will for that. “I didn’t realize it was her,” Michelle later stated. “He had given it to me, I guess, the night before he got arrested.”
Was She Scouting a Location?
Michelle’s had her own incriminating cellphone records, which showed that a month before Anna’s murder, Michelle visited the same exact spot on the same logging road. Michelle claims that Will brought her there.
Was Michelle scouting the location? “I had no reason to want her dead. No reason to kill her,” Michelle maintained. She also claims that she never told Will to kill Anna. Days after Will’s arrest, Kevin’s shotgun was found in the back of Will’s car. Forensics showed that there had been only one killer – Will’s fingerprints were on the gun.
The Defense’s Theory Failed
More importantly, Michelle’s DNA was never found on that shotgun. Through various surveillance cameras, investigators tracked Will’s drive to Alsea with Anna. GPS tracking provided the police with an even bigger piece of evidence.
Will’s phone was pinging from the murder site between 4:35 and 4:48 that very afternoon. Of course, he was calling Michelle, who was still at her mother’s house for Easter. In other words, no evidence supports the theory that Michelle was at the scene of the crime on the day Anna was shot.
Spots and Fast-Food Receipts
There was also a video of Will shopping at the convenience store in Alsea, where he was waiting for Michelle to arrive. “Towards the top of his bald head, you can see what appears to be – smaller black – dots,” Duffitt shared with CBS News.
Was it blood spatter? Matusko explained that the spots were there before he met with Michelle. They weren’t moles – they weren’t permanent specks. Another major piece of evidence was another fast-food receipt found in the same trash next to Anna’s body: a McDonald’s receipt.
A Life Sentence
A receipt from McDonald’s in Newport, Oregon, was dated on March 25, 2017. That was the day that should have been Anna and Will’s wedding day. By October 2019, Will’s trial was underway. There was a list of 131 witnesses, and 70 came to testify.
The trial took a month. Will Hargrove was found guilty of murder, in addition to identity theft and two counts of second-degree theft. He was handed a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
Michelle Can’t Handle the Scrutiny
Michelle has her own sort of life sentence. She says that living under the scrutiny of people who will always wonder if she knew became too much for her. She says it so “bad” that she tried to take her own life at one point in June 2018.
“I tried to die. I’m still here. It didn’t work.” As for Anna, the one who only wanted love, her ashes were flown back to Russia.