Court docs: Indiana man orchestrated plot to kill Cynthia Hoffman
A 21-year-old from Indiana has been accused of orchestrating the murder of 19-year-old Cynthia Hoffman, a press release from the Alaska Department of Law said Friday.
According to the release, Darin Schilmiller is accused of recruiting 18-year-old Denali Brehmer, offering to pay her $9 million or more to carry out the murder and send him videos and or photographs of the murder. Brehmer then recruited 16-year-old Kayden McIntosh, 19-year-old Caleb Leyland and two juveniles to help her plan and execute the murder. In exchange, the teenagers would all receive "a significant sum of money for their part."
On Friday, a grand jury indicted all six suspects for first-degree murder, first-degree conspiracy to commit murder, and two counts of second-degree murder. Schilmiller and Brehmer were also indicted on a count of first-degree solicitation to commit murder. Brehmer was additionally indicted on one count of tampering with physical evidence, while McIntosh was indicted on four counts of tampering with physical evidence.
Hoffman was murdered on Sunday, June 2, at Thunderbird Falls near the Eklutna River, where she was shot in the back of the head. The investigation into the murder has so far revealed that Brehmer and McIntosh led Hoffman into the woods near the falls, where they duct-taped her mouth and bound her feet and hands. Brehmer had a gun with her, but told detectives during an interview that she ordered McIntosh to shoot Hoffman after she couldn't do it herself. After it was done, the pair used Hoffman's phone to text her sister, making up a story about her being at the Polar Bear Playground at Russian Jack Springs Park.
Court documents state Brehmer and Schilmiller, whom she knew as "Tyler," met and began an online relationship within the past several months. Using a photograph of a young male who was not himself, he convinced her he was a millionaire.
"Interviews and recovered cell phone evidence reveals that during the course of Schilmiller's and Brehmer's relationship, and several weeks before Hoffman's murder, the two began discussing a plan to rape and murder someone in Alaska," the documents read.
More evidence showed that at some point during May and early June 2019 the group met to discuss the plan to carry out the murder and the Alaskans decided to split and share the money. It was then, according to court documents, that Hoffman was selected as the group's target.
Hoffman is described in the documents as Brehmer's "best friend."
According to the bail memorandum, there is no indication that Hoffman was sexually assaulted. Digital evidence and statements show Brehmer was communicating, sending videos and photographs to Schilmiller at his direction "of the events surrounding the incident" and "throughout the duration of the event."
If convicted at trial, the defendants could face up to 99 years of imprisonment for each of the murder charges, the conspiracy to commit murder charge and the solicitation to commit murder charge. The DOL release also states that Brehmer and McIntosh could face an additional five years in prison for each tampering with physical evidence charge.
Schilmiller is currently in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A state arrest warrant in the amount of $1 million was issued for his arrest. According to the release, he will be arraigned once he is extradited to Alaska to face charges. He is not to have contact with Brehmer, McIntosh, Leyland or the two juveniles.
Brehmer, McIntosh and Leyland are currently in the custody of the Department of Corrections. They will be arraigned Tuesday, June 18 in superior court. The juveniles are also in custody; the DOL is not providing further information regarding the minors.
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