An Alaska grand jury indicted six suspects for the June 2 killing of a teen girl with special needs. One of the defendants is accused of offering $9 million in exchange for a recording of the killing.
NBC 2 reports that on June 4, two days after her father reported her missing, authorities found the body of 19-year-old Cynthia Hoffman at the Eklutna River near Thunderbird Falls in Anchorage, lying lifeless on the desolate bank. According to police, Cynthia’s feet and hands had been bound together by tape. She had a single gunshot wound to back of her head.
Court documents state that 21-year-old Darin Schilmiller was the mastermind behind the teen’s murder. He’s accused of offering the victim’s friend $9 million to kill her. Denali Brehmer, 18, was considered Cynthia’s best friend. They attended the same high school in Anchorage and often tagged each other on their Instagram accounts.
Brehmer was reportedly the organizer of the murder. After Schilmiller met Brehmer online and offered her $9 million to kill her best friend, she recruited other teens to help her, according to prosecutors.
Schilmiller didn’t know Cynthia and had never so much as met her, but he apparently wanted a recording after asking Brehmer to “rape and murder someone in Alaska,” Anchorage Daily News reports.
A 21-year-old Indiana man implicated this week in the murder of Cynthia Hoffman, 19, promised millions of dollars to the teens who killed her in exchange for images of the killing, new charges against him claim https://t.co/vElpa3tehY
— Anchorage Daily News (@adndotcom) June 15, 2019
Cynthia may have been the target of killing because of her developmental disability, according to her father, which made her vulnerable and gullible.
“Her disability just made her want to have friends,” Cynthia’s father, Timothy Hoffman, told NBC 2. “That’s all she wanted, was just to be her friend.”
Brehmer allegedly put the plan into action on June 2. After she picked up Cynthia and one of the accomplices, 16-year-old Kayden McIntosh, she drove a friend’s borrowed car to an isolated area on the outskirts of Anchorage, court records read.
Prosecutors said Cynthia made it seem as if they were going hiking, but once they brought Cynthia to an isolated path by the Eklutna River, the pair tied up her hands and feet, according to prosecutors. McIntosh then allegedly took a 9mm handgun from Brehmer and shot Cynthia in the back of the head. The pair fled the scene.
“When she didn’t come home the first day, I knew something was wrong. When she didn’t come home the second day, I knew something was wrong. And then all I could think about was the knock on the door,” Hoffman said.
Indiana women say man charged in Cynthia Hoffman killing in Alaska used fake names to solicit images of their children https://t.co/1GpMgzgsyX
— Anchorage Daily News (@adndotcom) June 16, 2019
Later, Brehmer learned that she had been “catfished” by Schilmiller, meaning he claimed to be someone he wasn’t. Schilmiller isn’t wealthy and never had the money he claimed to have, prosecutors said. He also said he was from Kansas, but actually lived in Indiana, and called himself “Tyler.”
When prosecutors obtained a search warrant for Brehmer’s phone, they said they found she was calling Schilmiller “babe,” and carrying on what may have been an online relationship with him. Brehmer also detailed plans on her phone, on how she would sexually assault the victim and record it for Schimiller, according to court documents.
“Gonna go buy weed first,” Brehmer allegedly wrote to Schilmiller. “I wanna get her high for it so she doesn’t fight me.”
Afterward, Brehmer played the role of a worried friend. She sent a string of messages to Cynthia’s father, spewing numerous lies, according to police.
“Is she okay?”
“I hope she comes home safely she’s my best friend”
“I’m starting to get worried”
“I don’t trust what she said about that guy…. I love her too I want the best for her and want her to come back”
“She won’t answer me”
“I think she’s ignoring everyone”
“I know she will come home safe”
Brehmer later admitted to her part in the crime, police said. She also reportedly told authorities that she sexually assaulted two young children for Schilmiller. Police found child pornography on Brehmer’s phone, that she apparently sent to Schilmiller, court documents state.
They also found text messages from Schilmiller, encouraging Brehmer to carry out sexual assaults, according to WDRB.
“It’s cute do hotter videos. Hold her down and stuff. Fight her. Impress me. Spam me 20 pictures surprise me. Pics of her in underwear.“
Brehmer, McIntosh, and Schilmiller were arrested and charged with murder and conspiracy charges. Caleb Leyland, 19, was arrested for allegedly lending Brehmer his car on the promise she would give him $500,000. Two other minors were also charged in connection with the killing. Their names have been withheld.
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Cynthia Hoffman/Handout]