ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A woman pleaded guilty to murdering her best friend after she was offered money by a man online in a catfishing scheme.
Denali Brehmer, 22, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Anchorage Superior Court on Feb. 15. In a news release, Alaska’s Department of Law said that Brehmer admitted to killing Cynthia Hoffman, 19, on June 2, 2019.
Brehmer, Hoffman and Kayden McIntosh, 16, drove to Thunderbird Falls for a hike on the day of the murder, KTUU reported. Brehmer and McIntosh were accused of duct-taping Hoffman and taking pictures before McIntosh shot Hoffman in the head and pushed her into a river. Her body was found days later.
The Anchorage district attorney’s office had said that Brehmer began planning the murder after she was offered $9 million or more by a man she met online in exchange for evidence of the murder, NBC News reported. While Brehmer knew the man as “Tyler,” police said he catfished her and had created a fake persona as a millionaire from Kansas. The real person was identified as Darin Schilmiller and lives in Indiana, NBC News reported.
Brehmer and McIntosh were both charged with murder, as was Caleb Leyland, 19, who let the two borrow a car for the murder, KTUU reported. Two other unnamed juveniles were also allegedly involved.
“It was a sign of relief that this is almost over,” Timothy Hoffman, the victim’s father, told KTUU. “All I want is me and my daughter to have peace, and to have peace this has to be done. But my job is to make sure that all (involved) do time for what they’ve done.”
Brehmer is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 22. Anchorage Superior Court Judge Andrew Peterson may sentence her to a term between 30 and 99 years, according to the Alaska Department of Law.
Brehmer and Schilmiller are accused of discussing and ultimately abandoning a plan to kill a second victim, The Anchorage Daily News reported.
Schilmiller was arrested and indicted on five murder counts, NBC News reported. McIntosh and Leyland face four murder counts each. All three have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.
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