An 18-year-old Alaska woman who was instructed to kill her "best friend" by a man she met online, was promised her millions of dollars to commit the murder, court documents show.
Denali Brehmer began planning how to kill her "best friend" Cynthia Hoffman, after she developed an online relationship with a 21-year-old man named Darin Schilmiller, of Indiana. Schilmiller, who was posing as a multi-millionaire named "Tyler," offered Brehmer at least $9 million to kill her best friend and send him "videos and photographs of the murder," the Alaska Department of Law said.
The pair began discussing their plan to "rape and murder someone in Alaska" several weeks before Hoffman's murder, court documents show.
Court documents described Hoffman, 19, and Brehmer as "best friends" after the pair met while attending the same high school in Anchorage, Alaska.
On June 2, Hoffman went with Brehmer, believing she was going on a hike with her friend, near Thunderbird Falls, outside Anchorage. But, when they arrived, Hoffman was bound with duct tape and shot in the back of the head. The 19-year-old's body was then dumped into a river near a hiking trail outside Anchorage.
Anchorage police officers discovered her body along the Eklutna River bank on June 4.
Brehmer didn't act alone in carrying out the murder, according to court documents. For help, Brehmer reached out to recruit Kayden McIntosh, 16, and Caleb Leyland, 19, to help her carry out "Tyler's" instructions to murder Hoffman. Brehmer allegedly promised the pair money in exchange for their help with the murder, the department added in its statement.
Brehmer and McIntosh borrowed a truck from Leyland and brought Hoffman to Thunderbird Falls. When they stopped in a clearing, duct tape was wrapped around Hoffman's hands and feet, as well as around her head and mouth, court documents say. McIntosh then shot Hoffman in the back of the head using a gun belonging to Brehmer. The pair then dumped Hoffman's body in the Eklutna River.
The entire time Brehmer and McIntosh were engaged in the murder, Brehmer was allegedly texting photos and videos to Schilmiller "at his directive" phone records show.
At one point during their online relationship, Schilmiller also instructed Brehmer to sexually assault an "8-year or 9-year-old" and a 15-year-old and to send those videos to him. Video of Brehmer assaulting the 15-year-old was eventually recovered by investigators.
Six people, including two minors who have not been identified, were indicted by a federal grand jury on Friday for first-degree murder, first-degree conspiracy to commit murder, and two counts of second-degree murder as well as other charges.
Brehmer, McIntosh and Leyland are currently behind held by the Department of Corrections and will be arraigned on Tuesday, the department added.
Schilmiller, who is in federal custody on child pornography charges, will be arraigned on murder charges after he is extradited to Alaska.