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Prosecutors: Indiana man offered millions for Anchorage teen’s murder
was written by Casey Grove, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage , 2019-06-18 18:31:00
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An Indiana man is now charged with murder in the death of Anchorage resident Cynthia Hoffman in early June. Prosecutors say he allegedly tricked a group of teenagers into murdering Hoffman by promising them millions of dollars in exchange for images of the killing.
According to a bail memorandum filed Friday, 21-year-old Darin Schilmiller posed as a millionaire named “Tyler” online, using another person’s photo in a scheme known as “cat fishing.” The bail memo says Schilmiller offered 18-year-old Denali Brehmer $9 million or more to “rape and murder someone in Alaska.”
Brehmer is charged with first-degree murder in Hoffman’s death, along with 16-year-old Kayden McIntosh, whom police say pulled the trigger, and 19-year-old Caleb Leyland, who allegedly provided a car. A recent indictment adds Schilmiller and two unnamed juvenile defendants.
Leyland is charged separately with sexually abusing a minor. Schilmiller also faces related child pornography charges in federal court. Prosecutors wrote in the charges for that case that Schillmiller had directed Brehmer to take sexually explicit photos of two minor victims and told her to record videos of child sexual abuse to send to him.
Hoffman was killed June 2. Police found her bound with duct tape, shot in the back of the head, in the Eklutna River near Thunderbird Falls. Prosecutors say there was no evidence she was sexually assaulted.
Police followed a tip to Brehmer and McIntosh, who was the first arrested. The charging document says detectives searched Brehmer’s phone and discovered child pornography and the connection to Schilmiller in Indiana.
“Once Brehmer realized she had been cat-fished by Schilmiller, she ultimately admitted to being solicited by Schilmiller to commit the murder and that the murder was planned,” prosecutors wrote in the recent bail memorandum.
Brehmer and Leyland are due in court Tuesday. Federal, state and city authorities said they would make an announcement about the case Tuesday afternoon.
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Tongass National Forest. The Tongass is the largest national forest within the United States. It was given its name from the Tongass Clan of the Tlingit native people and goes back to 1902 when President Theodore Roosevelt established the Alexander Archipelago Forest Reserve. In 1908 the forest had been re-named and expanded and these days the 16.9 million-acre Tongass National Forest extends from the Pacific to the vast inland ice fields that border British Columbia and from the southern tip of Prince of Wales Island to Malaspina Glacier 500 miles to the north. Approximately 80 percent of Southeast Alaska is in Tongass and with its thousands of islands, fjords and bays the national forest has 11,000 miles of coastline. Tongass’ large coastal rain forest includes towering hemlock, spruce and red and yellow cedar. The undergrowth underneath thegiant conifers is composed of young evergreens and shrubs including devil’s club, blueberry and huckleberry. Moss and ferns cover the ground, and lichens adorn many trees and rocks.
Wildlife is abundant throughout Tongass. Sitka blacktail deer and its two main predators, wolf and brown bear, are located here. Black bear are common as well as mountain goats and some moose. Marine mammals found along the shores consist of Dall and harbor porpoises, seals and humpback, minke and orca whales and a thriving population of sea otters. The water teem with fish such as halibut and all 5 species of Pacific salmon. More bald eagles stay in this area than in any other area in the world. While the place to find the world’s greatest temperate rain forest, just about half of Tongass is covered by ice, water, wetlands and rock. It’s most recognized ice floe is the Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska’s “Drive-in glacier” since it is only thirteen miles from down-town Juneau along a paved road. A boat trip through Petersburg or Wrangell brings a person near the face of LeConte Glacier, the southernmost tidewater glacier on the continent. Only thirty miles north of Yakutat is Hubbard Glacier, the longest tidewater glacier in the world and very easily Alaska’s most active. The 76-mile-long glacier has crossed Russell Fjord several times, most recently in 2008. The rip tides and currents that flow in front of the 8-mile-wide glacier are so powerful they induce Hubbard to calve nearly constantly. The Tongass contains 19 wilderness areas, including the 545-sq-mile Russell Fjord Wilderness, in addition to Admiralty Island National Monument and Misty Fiords National Monument. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and the general area around Haines and Skagway are not part of the national forest.