Catfished Killer Pleads Guilty to Murdering 'Best Friend' Cynthia Hoffman, a Developmentally Disabled Teen

Cynthia Hoffman
Cynthia Hoffman.Facebook

Cynthia Hoffman was shot in the back of the head and thrown into a river on June 2, 2019, authorities said.

An Anchorage woman has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the killing of her best friend, Cynthia Hoffman, a developmentally disabled teen, prosecutors said.

Denali Brehmer entered the plea Wednesday in exchange for five other charges against her being dropped. “She was charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree, solicitation to commit murder in the first degree, two different theories of murder in the second degree, and tampering with evidence,” Alaska state prosecutor Patrick McKay said.

Brehmer had planned Hoffman's murder with several others after meeting a man online who said he would give Brehmer $9 million to kill someone and send him videos and photos as proof, according to the Alaska Department of Law.

In June 2019, Brehmer and 16-year-old Kayden McIntosh lured Hoffman on a drive to Thunderbird Falls on the promise of going for a hike, authorities instead. Instead, the two bound her with duct tape before McIntosh allegedly shot Hoffman in the head and pushed her into a river.

Her body was found by police two days after her father reported her missing.

The murder was at the behest of Darin Schilmiller, an Indiana man who Brehmer had been in contact with online, prosecutors said. Brehmer thought Schilmiller was a millionaire named Tyler from Kansas and agreed to the killing on Snapchat, authorities said.

Schilmiller was extradited to Alaska and charged with murder. McIntosh was also charged with murder, as was Caleb Leyland, who allegedly lent his car to Brehmer and McIntosh to carry out the killing, authorities said.

The three have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial. They are scheduled for pre-trial hearings next month, authorities said.

Hoffman's father, Timothy, has been an outspoken advocate for justice his daughter's killing, attending court hearings for the accused and posting on social media.

"I love u Cynthia Rose Hoffman," the dad wrote Wednesday on his Facebook page. "I will get them all."

The father has said his 19-year-old daughter was a loving and trusting soul who functioned at the intellectual level of a seventh-grader. Nonetheless, Cynthia completed high school and was working with him in his handyman business.

“Cynthia had done nothing wrong. Cynthia was nothing but an awesome girl,” he told Inside Edition Digital in June 2019. “She just wanted friends and now she is dead.”

Hoffman's sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 22. She faces a sentence ranging from 30 to 99 years, prosecutors said.

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