An Alaskan teenager is accused of masterminding a plot to lure her best friend to the woods and have an accomplice fatally shoot her in the head — all on the instruction of a man she had met on the internet, who claimed he would pay her millions of dollars if she carried out the crime, law enforcement officials have said.
Dehnali Brehmer, 18, has been arrested and charged with first-degree and second-degree murder, among other charges, in connection with the brutal slaying of Cynthia Hoffman, 19, who was found dead next to a river bank outside of Anchorage, Alaska, on June 4th. Authorities say she was bound with duct tape and had been shot in the head.
While the specific motive remains unclear, authorities say that Brehmer had recently struck up an online relationship with a man who went by “Tyler,” who told Brehmer he was a millionaire and offered her $9 million to commit murder (though he did not specify a victim). In reality, “Tyler” was actually a 21-year-old Indiana man named Darren Schilmiller, who also reportedly instructed Brehmer to send him video evidence of the murder, which she did using Snapchat. In addition to allegedly instructing Brehmer to murder Hoffman, Schilmiller also reportedly instructed her to sexually abuse minors and send him video recordings of the crimes, leading Alaskan authorities to charge them both with possession and production of child pornography. Schilmiller is currently awaiting extradition to Alaska.
Police have also arrested Kayden McIntosh, 16; Caleb Leyland, 19; and two other individuals who are not being named by authorities. Authorities allege that Brehmer recruited McIntosh, Leyland, and the two other juveniles to help commit the murder, promising them a cut of the $9 million payout in return; McIntosh later confessed to authorities that he had shot Hoffman once in the back of the head. The four teenagers have also been arrested and charged with first-degree murder, a charge that comes with a maximum sentence of 99 years in prison.
Hoffman, who went by “Cee Cee,” graduated from high school in 2018 and worked as an apprentice for her father, a handyman in East Anchorage. According to a statement from her father Timothy, she had a learning disability and the mental development of a 12-year-old. She was best friends with Brehmer, whom the family knew as “Angela,” he told local news outlet KTUU.
“My daughter trusted these people, my daughter just wanted friends,” Hoffman told reporters during Brehmer’s court appearance on Wednesday. “Now I have to bury her, and that is wrong.”