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Catfished into Murder


Denali Brehmer

Do you watch Sister Wives?

Remember when Meri got catfished by some dude that turned out to be a lady? 

Anyway, Denali Brehmer, 22, pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree murder in the June 2019 death of Cynthia Hoffman, a murder she says she was catfished into doing. A man she met online said he would pay her $9 million if she sent him photos and videos of her committing murder.

So, she chose her bestie, Cynthia.

Cynthia Hoffman
Hoffman, 19, died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head. Her body was dumped in the Eklutna River, about 27 miles northeast of Anchorage. 

Brehmer knew the man as "Tyler" and had begun a relationship with him, but authorities said he created a fake persona as a millionaire from Kansas. His real name is Darin Schilmiller from Indiana.

Court documents state Brehmer and Schilmiller planned several crimes in exchange for money, including the "rape and murder of someone in Alaska." 

Brehmer chose Hoffman as the victim and recruited Kayden McIntosh, Caleb Leyland, and two other unnamed juveniles to help her. She told them they would get tons of cash for helping her kill Hoffman. 

Brehmer and two of the teens tricked Hoffman into going to Thunderbird Falls under the guise of a hiking trip. They bound her with duct tape, shot her in the back of the head, and dumped her in the river.

As the crime was being committed, Brehmer sent photos and videos to Schilmiller.

After the killing, the group destroyed some of her personal belongings and texted her parents that they had dropped her off at a park. Police said there was no evidence Hoffman was sexually assaulted.

Kayden McIntosh

Brehmer was arrested in 2019 and indicted on first-degree murder, first-degree conspiracy to commit murder, first-degree solicitation of murder, tampering with physical evidence and two charges of second-degree murder.

Following her plea of guilty, the other charges were dismissed. She is scheduled to be sentenced in August 2023 and faces 30 to 99 years in prison. 

Schilmiller was arrested and charged with five murder counts.

McIntosh and Leyland were indicted on four murder counts and one count of tampering with evidence. All three have pleaded not guilty. 

Hoffman’s family previously said that they believe she was targeted because she had a learning disability that "put her at a younger developmental age than her 19 years,".


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