Woman Pleads Guilty to Best Friend’s Murder After Online Catfish Offers Her $9 Million to Film It
Denali Brehmer, 22, has pleaded guilty to murdering her best friend after a man online allegedly offered her $9 million to film the crime.
According to a statement from the Alaska Department of Law, Brehmer, 18 at the time, murdered Cynthia Hoffman, 19, in 2019 following a bribe from an online catfish.
"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," state prosecutor Patrick McKay said, according to KTUU.
Brehmer's sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 22. She faces a sentence of 30 to 99 years in prison.
In June 2019, Hoffman, Brehmer and mutual friend Kayden McIntosh, 19, were hiking at Thunderbird Falls in Chugiak, Alaska, when Hoffman went missing.
Hoffman's body was found two days later, bound with duct tape, with a gunshot wound in the back of the head.
During the investigation, authorities discovered Brehmer was in an online relationship with a man named "Tyler," who claimed he was a millionaire. The man allegedly offered Brehmer $9 million to sexually assault and murder someone, as well as send him photos and videos of the assault and execution.
According to court records, Brehmer and McIntosh drove Hoffman to Thunderbird Falls, where they bound her and took photos and footage before shooting her in the back of the head.
Another friend, Caleb Leyland, 23, was also arrested for taking part in the crime. According to Alaska Star, Leyland admitted he helped plan Hoffman's murder and allowed Brehmer to use his vehicle to commit the crime.
Leyland was charged with one count of murder, one count of conspiracy to commit murder and multiple counts of sexual assault with a minor.
McIntosh and Leyland's cases are still pending.
According to a police report, two minors — a male and female whose names have been withheld — were also "involved in the planning of this homicide with Brehmer and McIntosh."
In 2019, the online catfish was identified as Darin Schilmiller, then 21, of Indiana. According to court records, he was charged with plotting Hoffman's murder.
On Feb. 15, Schilmiller, now 24, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. He is currently in jail in Alaska and awaiting trial, according to Alaska Public Media.