Alaska Woman Pleads Guilty to Killing Best Friend After Man Catfishes Her, Offers $9M for Video of a Murder

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A 22-year-old Alaska woman pleaded guilty to murdering her 19-year-old "best friend" in 2019 after a man who was allegedly catfishing her offered her $9 million to kill someone.

On Wednesday, Denali Brehmer of Anchorage pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, according to a statement from the Alaska Department of Law.

Hoffman Found Dead with Gunshot Wound in the Back of Her Head

Denali Brehmer and Cynthia Hoffman
Cynthia Hoffman and Denali Brehmer. Twitter

Brehmer agreed to plead guilty to murdering Cynthia Hoffman, 19, a teen with learning disabilities, in exchange for having five other charges against her dropped, KTUU reports.

"She was charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree, solicitation to commit murder in the first degree, two different theories of murder in the second degree, and tampering with evidence," State Prosecutor Patrick McKay said, KTUU reports.

The charges stemmed from June 2019, when Hoffman went missing during a hike with Brehmer and another friend at Thunderbird Falls in Chugiak, Alaska. Her body was found two days later on the banks of the Eklutna River, bound with duct tape and shot in the back of the head.

Catfisher Claimed to be a Millionaire from Kansas

Darin Schilmiller
Darin Schilmiller Twitter

During their investigation, authorities learned that Brehmer had started an online relationship with a man who said his name was "Tyler" and who claimed he was a millionaire from Kansas, charging documents show. Authorities said he catfished her with a fake persona and his real name is Darin Schilmiller from Indiana, authorities said.

Court documents state that Brehmer and Schilmiller started planning several crimes in exchange for money, including the "rape and murder of someone in Alaska." He allegedly offered her $9 million to kill someone and send him pictures and video of the slaying, charging documents show.

Brehmer and Her Friends Killed Hoffman for 'Substantial Shares of Money'

Brehmer chose Hoffman as the victim and recruited four friends —Kayden McIntosh, Caleb Leyland and two other unnamed juveniles — to help her, according to authorities. Brehmer told them they would get "substantial shares of money" for helping her kill Hoffman.

Authorities said that Brehmer and two of the teens tricked Hoffman into coming to Thunderbird Falls under the guise of a hiking trip. They bound her hands, feet and mouth with duct tape, shot her in the back of the head, and dumped her body in the river, court documents state.

As the crime was being committed, Brehmer sent photos and videos to Schilmiller, authorities said. After killing Hoffman, the group destroyed some of her personal belongings and texted her parents that they had dropped her off at a park. Police said there was no evidence Hoffman had been sexually assaulted.

She is scheduled to be sentenced in August and faces 30 to 99 years in prison. Schilmiller was arrested and indicted on five murder counts, online court records show. McIntosh and Leyland were indicted on four murder counts, according to court records. McIntosh was also indicted on tampering with evidence. All three have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial. Their attorneys could not immediately be reached.