A Man Offered An Alaska Woman $9 Million To Kill Someone. So She Did, Only To Discover She Was Catfished.

catfish case

Feb. 16 2023, Published 4:47 p.m. ET

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An Alaska woman admitted she took a life at the request of a man in Indiana who offered her millions of dollars in exchange for her committing murder and rape, authorities said.

On Feb. 15, Denali Brehmer, 22, pleaded guilty in Anchorage to first-degree murder in connection with the June 29, 2019, death of her best friend, 19-year-old Cynthia Hoffman, nearly four years ago near Thunderbird Falls in Chugiak, according to the Alaska Department of Law.

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Hoffman was reportedly developmentally disabled.

Hoffman’s murder “involved a group of three young adults who are accused of being ‘catfished’ by an Indiana resident to commit the crime for money,” the agency said.

The man in Indiana, identified as Darin Schilmiller, 25, pleaded not guilty to five counts of murder — three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder— and other charges the following month, the Anchorage Daily News reported.


Prosecutors said Hoffman’s body was found dumped in the Eklutna River with her hands bound with duct tape after they believe she was lured to a nearby hiking trail.

The victim had been shot in the head with a 9 mm handgun, according to court documents.

According to prosecutors, Schilmiller, posing online as a millionaire named “Tyler”, allegedly offered to pay Brehmer $9 million if she would “rape and murder someone in Alaska.”

As part of the plan, prosecutors believe Brehmer enlisted the help of four teenagers to carry out what ultimately turned out to be a catfishing-related incident.

Brehmer faces between 30 to 99 years in prison when she is sentenced in August.


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