18-year-old Denali Brehmer of Anchorage, Alaska planned to kill her “best friend” after developing an online relationship with 21-year-old Darin Schilmiller of Indiana, who posed as a millionaire named “Tyler” and promised to pay her several million dollars for evidence of the murder.
According to the Alaska Department Of Law, “Tyler” offered Brehmer at least $9 million to kill Cynthia Hoffman and send him “videos and photographs of the murder.” Court documents state the two began discussing “a plan to rape and murder someone in Alaska,” several weeks before Hoffman’s murder.
CNN reports Brehmer recruited Kayden McIntosh, 16, Caleb Leyland, 19, and two minors to help her carry out the crime, and in exchange, “all of them would receive a significant sum of money for their part in the planning and/or execution of the murder,” according to the department’s statement.
The incident began with Brehmer and McIntosh bringing Hoffman to Thunderbird Falls in a truck borrowed from Leyland. According to the report, Hoffman was under the impression that the friends were going on a hike near the local river.
Once the group stopped at a clearing, Hoffman’s hands, feet, head, and mouth were bound by duct tape, and McIntosh shot her once in the back of the head with Brehmer’s gun. She was then pushed into the Eklutna River. Phone records confirm Brehmer was sending videos and photographs to Schilmiller “at his directive” throughout the murder.
Hoffman’s father, Timothy Hoffman, told CNN affiliate KTVA that his daughter had a learning disability. In court, Mr. Hoffman said his daughter was an “angel” and a “daddy’s girl.”
Federal court documents also alleged Schilmiller directed Brehmer to sexually assault an “8 or 9-year-old” and a 15-year-old and to send the videos to him. Brehmer confessed to investigators that she did and the video of the 15-year-old was recovered by police.
A grand jury indicted all six defendants for first-degree murder, first-degree conspiracy to commit murder and two counts of second-degree murder, amongst other charges. McIntosh is being charged as an adult and is in the custody of the Department of Corrections to be arraigned along with Brehmer and Leyland. The juvenile defendants are also currently in police custody.
Schilmiller‘s arraignment will happen once he is extradited to Alaska and is currently in federal custody for child pornography charges.