Cynthia Hoffman was lured onto a hiking trail northeast of Anchorage, Alaska. She was then bound with duct tape and shot execution-style before being thrown in the river. But who were her killers, and what was the motive behind the gruesome act?
Cynthia Hoffman was brutally murdered by her best friend, 18-year-old Denali Brehmer. She and four other teenagers plotted to kill Hoffman, hoping to cash in on a $9 million prize set by an unknown male Brehmer met online.
When Did Cynthia Hoffmann Go Missing?
On June 2, 2019, nineteen-year-old Alaskan Cynthia Hoffman left home to spend time at a friend’s house. This was normal for teenagers to do. Her parents didn’t think of it at the time, as it was usual for Hoffman to hangout time with her friends despite her having a developmental disability.
Her father, Timothy Hoffman, who has built a strong relationship based on trust and communication among his children, started worrying when they hadn’t heard anything from her that night. Her dad called the police at around 11:30 pm to report her daughter missing. But the police told him that he would have to wait 24 hours to report his daughter missing.
After midnight, he called back the police, making the 24-hour window official, and the Alaskan police started their search. Hoffman’s father also conducted his search, combing through the town and the woods that surrounded it.
On June 4, just two days after her disappearance, Alaskan police found her lifeless body. She was found in a creek near Thunderbird Falls in Eagle River, just outside Anchorage. Hoffman’s feet and hands were bound with duct tape. Her mouth was also covered with duct tape, and she was fatally shot at the back of the head. (Source: Inside Edition)
Events That Led to Cynthia Hoffman’s Untimely Death
Several weeks before Hoffman’s murder, her best friend, eighteen-year-old Denali Brehmer, known to her friends as Angel, met a mysterious man online. The man who introduced himself as Tyler claimed to be a young multi-millionaire from Kansas. The two immediately formed a romantic relationship.
The lovers then discussed a sinister plan. They were planning on the rape and murder of someone in Alaska. Tyler then offered Brehmer at least $9 million to carry out the plan. Brehmer then recruited four other friends, nineteen-year-old Caleb Leyland, sixteen-year-old Kayden McIntosh, and two other teenagers.
The group ultimately chose Hoffman. By June 2, Brehmer and McIntosh picked up Hoffman for an alleged hiking trip in Thunderbird Falls. The group made their way to a clearing by the bank of the Eklutna River. Brehmer handed McIntosh the gun, and McIntosh shot Hoffman in the back of the head.
Brehmer constantly communicated with Tyler during the event, sending him videos and photos of the murder. They then tried to destroy Hoffman’s belongings, and Brehmer texted Hoffman’s father saying she was dropped off at Polar Bear Park. (Source: Inside Edition)
Tyler, Brehmer’s multi-millionaire boyfriend, who proposed to pay her millions of dollars to rape and murder someone in Alaska, was actually twenty-one-year-old Darin Schilmiller. Schilmiller was from a small, rural farming town of New Salisbury in Indiana and was not a millionaire.
Schilmiller, who was known as a shy boy who treated others well, hid a very disturbing persona. He was a very disturbed man with a kink for child pornography. Investigators soon uncovered many of his fake social media pages. Schilmiller tried to con women into sending him lewd photos of themselves. Then he then started asking for pictures of children and dirty diapers.
The connection was drawn after Alaskan authorities discovered Brehmer’s conversations with Schilmiller. Schilmiller was also arrested and ultimately sent to prison. (Source: Alaska’s News Source)