Cops: Teen Bound, Killed Friend on Promise of $9M

5 charged after Cynthia Hoffman's June 2 murder
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2019 8:13 AM CDT
Cops: Teen Bound, Killed Friend on Promise of $9M
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/pavel_balanenko)

A slew of child pornography charges is just the latest twist in an Alaskan murder case in which a developmentally disabled woman was bound and killed, allegedly by her best friend. Police say Indiana's Darin Schilmiller, 21, posed online as a millionaire, offering 18-year-old Denali Brehmer at least $9 million to "rape and murder someone in Alaska." Prosecutors say Brehmer recruited four teens to take part in a plan to kill her friend, 19-year-old Cynthia Hoffman, with the promise of money. Hoffman was shot in the back of the head on a trail northeast of Anchorage on June 2 before her body, bound with duct tape, was found in a river, per CBS News. Prosecutors say Brehmer—charged with first-degree murder alongside Kayden McIntosh, 16, who allegedly pulled the trigger—sent images of Hoffman to Schilmiller before and after the killing, per Anchorage Daily News.

Their online relationship apparently went further than that. After Schilmiller directed Brehmer to record assaults on girls, the teen responded with evidence of her sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl, police say, adding Brehmer also admitted to assaulting a girl aged 8 or 9. Brehmer was indicted on four federal child pornography charges Tuesday. Arrested last week on similar charges, Schilmiller is further accused of production of child pornography, receipt and distribution of child pornography, and coercion and enticement of a minor. He's to be extradited to Alaska in the next month. Two unnamed juveniles, a male and female, also face charges related to Hoffman's death, as does 19-year-old Caleb Leyland, who allegedly provided Brehmer and McIntosh with his car. Police say Leyland is also accused of sexually assaulting the female juvenile suspect. (More murder stories.)

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