We don’t cover a lot of non-political crime stories at Hot Air but this story is so awful in so many ways that it really ought to rise to the level of national concern. Earlier this month police discovered the body of 19-year-old Cynthia Hoffman (pictured above) washed up on the shore of a river in Alaska. She had been bound with duct tape and shot in the back of the head. Police eventually identified the group who had killed her. They weren’t a gang. Most of them weren’t even adults. In fact, the victim had once described the woman who plotted and organized her execution, 18-year-old Denali Brehmer, as her best friend. From the Anchorage Daily News:
Court documents say Brehmer recruited four of her friends — Kayden McIntosh, 16; Caleb Leyland, 19; and two other teens whose names haven’t been released because of their ages — to help plan and carry out the killing of 19-year-old Hoffman.
Investigators allege the five teens gathered at some point in May or early June to plan the killing and selected Hoffman, whose family said she has a developmental disability, as the victim. Hoffman had previously described Brehmer as her “best friend,” according to family members…
Brehmer and McIntosh are accused of driving with Hoffman to Thunderbird Falls in Chugiak on June 2 under the guise of going on a hiking trip. Once they arrived, the charges against them say, the trio went off the trail and walked along the bank of the Eklutna River until they came to a clearing, where McIntosh and Brehmer duct taped Hoffman’s hands, feet and mouth.
McIntosh then used Brehmer’s 9mm handgun to shoot Hoffman once in the head before pushing her body into the river, according to charging documents. Afterward, the charges say, two attempted to burn Hoffman’s belongings and sent misleading text messages to her family claiming she had been dropped off at Polar Bear Park.
What could motivate something this awful? Denali Brehmer had struck up a relationship several months earlier with a mysterious millionaire named Tyler living in Kansas. Tyler allegedly offered Brehmer $9 million dollars to murder someone. Brehmer then recruited her four friends promising them $500,000 each for their role in the plot to kill Hoffman.
If by this point you’ve figured out that “Tyler” isn’t a real person, you’re a lot smarter than Denali Brehmer. In fact, “Tyler” was a 21-year-old, self-described child porn addict from Indiana. His real name is Darin Schilmiller. Authorities in Alaska stumbled onto the existence of Schilmiller after a review of Brehmer’s phone turned up images of two girls, one about 8 or 9 years old and the other aged 15. It turned out that after the murder, Schilmiller convinced Brehmer to commit additional crimes to satisfy his porn addiction. He is now also facing charges of receiving child porn.
Incredibly, Brehmer did all of this for a person she had never met or even seen. The photo Schilmiller provided of “Tyler” was a fake.
All six of the people involved in the murder were indicted on multiple charges last Friday including first-degree murder and first-degree conspiracy to commit murder. Three of the Alaskan teens including Brehmer and the person who fired the shot that killed Cynthia Hoffman are being charged as adults. Two of the teens are too young to even be mentioned by name in local papers. Darin Schilmiller will be extradited to Alaska where he will hopefully spend most of the remainder of his life in prison.