In a disturbing catfishing plot, an Alaskan teenager took the life of her “best friend” after being enticed by a man on the internet who allegedly offered a staggering $9 million in exchange for videos documenting the murder.
The shocking incident unfolded when a 22-year-old woman from Alaska, driven by the false identity of an online perpetrator, pleaded guilty to the brutal slaying of her 19-year-old companion back in 2019.
On Wednesday, Denali Brehmer, hailing from Anchorage, confessed to the crime of first-degree murder, as stated in an official statement released by the Alaska Department of Law.
Brehmer, having agreed to a plea deal, admitted to the murder of Cynthia Hoffman, a 19-year-old with developmental disabilities, and in return, had five other charges against her dropped, according to a report by KTUU.
The charges encompassed a range of offenses, including conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, solicitation to commit first-degree murder, two separate theories of second-degree murder, and tampering with evidence, as revealed by State Prosecutor Patrick McKay, as reported by KTUU.
These grave accusations stem from an incident that occurred in June 2019, when Hoffman mysteriously disappeared while embarking on a hike with Brehmer and another acquaintance at Thunderbird Falls in Chugiak, Alaska.
Two days later, Hoffman’s lifeless body was discovered on the banks of the Eklutna River, bound with duct tape and fatally shot in the back of her head.
Authorities, during the course of their investigation, unraveled a shocking revelation—a virtual relationship had been forged between Brehmer and an individual claiming to be a millionaire named “Tyler” from Kansas, as evident from the charging documents.
This imposter allegedly enticed Brehmer with an astronomical sum of $9 million to carry out a heinous act of murder, demanding visual proof in the form of pictures and videos of the slaying, as stated in the charging documents.
According to the official records, at the time of the crime, Brehmer, then 18 years old, accompanied by Kayden McIntosh, then 16 years old, transported Hoffman to Thunderbird Falls. Subsequently, Hoffman was restrained with duct tape, and McIntosh callously fired a fatal gunshot into the back of her head, as detailed by the authorities.
McIntosh and Brehmer were both charged with one count of murder and one count of tampering with evidence, as confirmed by online court records. Furthermore, two underage individuals, whose identities were withheld due to their status as minors, were implicated in the planning of the homicide alongside Brehmer and McIntosh, as disclosed in the police report.
Another individual, 19-year-old Caleb Leyland, was also arrested on charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and multiple counts of sexual assault involving a minor.
Records indicate that an individual named Darin Schilmiller, a 21-year-old from Indiana, was charged with devising the plan to murder Hoffman. An Anchorage grand jury indicted Schilmiller on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and two counts of second-degree murder, as stated in an official statement by the Alaska Department of Law. In August 2019, Schilmiller pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Presently, at the age of 24, Schilmiller has been extradited to Alaska, where he remains in custody, awaiting trial, according to reports from Alaska Public Media.
Brehmer’s sentencing is scheduled for August 22, with her plea agreement failing to specify a predetermined term of imprisonment, as confirmed by the Alaska Department of Law. The statement indicates that she faces a potential prison sentence ranging from 30 to 99 years.
Timothy Hoffman, the father of the victim, revealed in court that his daughter had a learning disability and functioned at a developmental age younger than 19. He expressed his dismay, stating that his daughter considered Brehmer her “best friend” after meeting in high school, as reported by The Anchorage Daily News.
“I only know one thing—my daughter trusted these individuals,” Timothy stated during the 2019 court proceedings, as cited by local TV station KTVA. “All my daughter wanted was friendship, and now I have to bury her. That is fundamentally wrong.”
Requests for comment from the attorneys representing Brehmer, Leyland, McIntosh, and Schilmiller have not been promptly answered, according to PEOPLE’s sources.