Police: teens killed friend after being promised millions for murder footage


Authorities say that a 21-year-old man living in Indiana posed as a millionaire online to convince a teen to kill her best friend and document it.

The horrifying report noted that 18-year-old Denali Brehmer stands accused of killing her 19-year-old friend along with a group of other teens as accomplices. The teens were apparently told that by providing photo and video of the murder to the “millionaire” that Brehmer was talking to online, they would be given $9 million in exchange.

Court documents noted that Brehmer confessed to killing Cynthia Hoffman on June 2 after being directed to do so by a man she had met online several months earlier named Darin Schilmiller.

Police: teens killed friend after being promised millions for murder footage
Denali Brehmer addressed the court after the alleged killing of her best friend. (Twitter)


Brehmer allegedly gained the support of four teenage friends to assist in the killing. 19-year-old Caleb Leyland and 16-year-old Kayden McIntosh were named in court records. The other juvenile accomplices were not identified. 

Leyland told prosecutors that he was promised $500,000 for his role in the murder.

Prosecutors said that Schilmiller, who is actually a young adult from Indiana, told Brehmer that he lived in Kansas and that he was extraordinarily wealthy. The two began communicating via messenger, quickly developing an online romance.

Alaskan officials reportedly recovered cell phone records that showed Schilmiller and Brehmer “discussing a plan to rape and murder someone in Alaska” and an offer of “nine or more million dollars to carry out the murder and to have photographs and/or videos of the murder sent.”

According to statements from authorities, Brehmer and her friends brought Hoffman out under the false notion that they were going on a day hike at Thunderbird Falls Trail in Alaska on June 2.

Police: teens killed friend after being promised millions for murder footage
19-year-old Cynthia Hoffman was allegedly bound and then killed by her friends. (KTUU Handout)


When they got out into the woods, Brehmer and the other teens allegedly then grabbed Hoffman and tied up her arms and legs using duct tape. Prosecutors say Brehmer then shot her in the head.

Following the homicide, Brehmer then reportedly used her cellphone to text Hoffman’s family to tell them that they had dropped her off at another state park. She then deleted her text history with Schilmiller.

On June 4, Brehmer confessed to killing Hoffman after she realized she had been catfished by Schilmiller and that he wasn’t actually going to give her any money.

She was arrested and charged with conspiracy and murder in the first degree, two counts of second-degree murder, and five counts of tampering with evidence.

Officials then went to Schilmiller, who confessed to his role in the crime on June 9. He reportedly told police that the pair had planned the murder for three weeks and that Brehmer had sent Snapchat photos and videos to him during the event.

He also confessed to his plans to kill another victim as well as blackmail Brehmer into allegedly raping people following the initial crime.

Schilmiller was charged with production of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and attempted receipt of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Alaskan officials plan to extradite Schilmiller for a trial.


Brehmer reportedly told court officials that she knew what she had done was wrong and she didn’t want her daughter to think her mother “grew up a killer.”

Hoffman’s father was quoted in a statement to local news station KTUU. 

“All I know is that my daughter didn’t deserve all this,” he said. “She should have had the friends that she wanted. She shouldn’t have had people that wanted to plot against her,” he said. “And the ages of these people? I think it is sick. And now they don’t have to live the nightmare that I have to live.”


Police: teens killed friend after being promised millions for murder footage

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