Cynthia Hoffman’s family discusses murder case on Dr. Phil
Standing next to chilly water rushing through Thunderbird Falls, Timothy Hoffman lifted his gaze and spoke to his daughter.
“I love you, Cynthia. Don’t worry. They won’t get away with it. Daddy will see to it,” he said. “Hear my cry and know that I love you.”
Timothy journeyed to the location where 19-year-old Cynthia Hoffman was murdered on June 2, allegedly at the hands of two teenagers — one of them, her “best friend.”
The moment was broadcasted on Friday’s episode of Dr. Phil, which featured an emotional interview with Cynthia’s family and a close friend.
Five Alaska teenagers: Denali Brehmer, 18, Kayden McIntosh, 16, Caleb Leyland, 19, and two unidentified juveniles, as well as a 21-year-old man from Indiana are now charged in the murder.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: The murder of Cynthia Hoffman
According to court documents, Cynthia was led into the woods near the falls by Brehmer and McIntosh, where they allegedly duct-taped her mouth and bound her feet and hands and shot her in the back of the head. 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, police say 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. Brehmer allegedly lied to police and to Timothy, delaying the discovery of Cynthia’s location.
Later, police discovered texts between Brehmer and a man she allegedly knew to be “Tyler,” a millionaire living in Kansas. The man on the other end of the screen turned out to be 21-year-old Darin Schilmiller, a man from Indiana who is not a millionaire.
Schilmiller allegedly recruited Brehmer, offering to pay her $9 million or more to murder Hoffman and send him videos or photographs of the act. Brehmer then recruited McIntosh, Leyland and two juveniles to help her plan and execute the murder. In exchange, they would all receive "a significant sum of money for their part."
According to the documents, Brehmer said Schilmiller directed her to assault two minors. Images discovered by investigators led to a federal child pornography case against Brehmer and Schilmiller.
During an emotional interview with Dr. Phil, Timothy described the murder, the impact it’s had on his family and his relentless fight for justice.
“All her life, all [Cynthia] wanted was friends,” he said. “She just wanted to hang out with friends. She would do anything with her friends.”
Now, he plans to attend every single court hearing for the suspects charged in Cynthia’s death.
“I wish I could have been there to save my baby,” he said through tears.
Timothy said he knows it’s not his fault, but he wishes he had not let his daughter out of his sight that day.
“I live it over and over in my head again. It’s not fair. I questioned my beliefs at one time,” he said. “There’s a purpose for this. The purpose was to take down all these people because they must have been doing it for awhile. But I wish they would not have used my daughter’s life to do it.”
The federal case is expected to go to trial in March 2020.
A trial date has not yet been set in state court for the suspects facing murder charges.
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