An Alaska woman admitted to killing a “best friend” after being catfished by an online stranger who said he’d pay $9 million if he was sent photos and videos of the depraved crime.
Denali Brehmer, 22, pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree murder in the 2019 killing of Cynthia Hoffman, 19, the Alaska Department of Law said.
Brehmer was 18 when she and two other teens were “catfished” by a man online who pretended to be a millionaire and convinced them to sexually assault and kill Hoffman, Alaska Public Media reported.
Court documents say Darin Schilmiller, then 21, posed online as a millionaire named “Tyler” to the teens.
Schilmiller offered $9 million for the “rape and murder of someone in Alaska” — and told the teens to send him photos and videos of the horrific crime taking place.
Brehmer and her two alleged accomplices carried out the planned attack on June 2, 2019, luring Hoffman to Thunderbird Falls in Chugiak, an unincorporated community in Anchorage, under the guise of a friendly hike.
Hoffman had thought of Brehmer as her “best friend” according to court documents.
The teens bound Hoffman, duct-taping her hands, feet and mouth — before shooting her in the back of the head with a 9mm handgun.
The group sent numerous Snaptchat videos and pictures to Schilmiller “at his directive throughout the duration of the event” before pushing Hoffman’s body into the Eklutna River, authorities said.
The teens had tried to burn Hoffman’s body before sending her family a text that she had been dropped off elsewhere.
Brehmer’s sentencing has been set for Aug. 22. She faces anywhere from 30 to 99 years in prison.
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Schilmiller was arrested and extradited to Alaska. Now 24, Schilmiller has been held in jail on first-degree murder charges stemming from the case.
Charges against Brehmer’s two alleged accomplices — Caleb Leyland, 23, and Kayden McIntosh, 19, are pending.
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