Catfished Teen Murders Her Best Friend

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A teenager in Alaska, Denali Brehmer, killed her best friend after a man she met on the internet offered her $9 million to commit the murder. Brehmer, who is 18-years old, killed her 19-year old friend, Cynthia Hoffman, by shooting her in the back of the head at the urging of Darin Schilmiller, 21.

According to authorities, Brehmer and Hoffman considered themselves to be best friends, so it is obvious money had to be the main motive as to why Brehmer killed her friend. She was arrested and has been charged with murder.

The district attorney’s office claims that Brehmer met Schillmiller online. He told her that he was a millionaire from Kansas and said that his name was “Tyler,” and they began an online relationship. In reality, he really is a 21-year old from Indiana and is far from being a millionaire. The two starting planning crimes together, with “Tyler” offering to give Brehmer money for these crimes, including asking her to “rape and murder” someone in Alaska. Brehmer chose her “best friend” as the victim, and then she recruited four other friends to help her do it. She promised them “substantial shares of money” for their assistance.

Brehmer and her friends made a plan to invite Hoffman on a hiking trip. While gone, they overtook her, bound her hands, mouth, and feet with duct tape, and then shot her in the head before leaving her body in the Eklunta River. Brehmer took video and photos, which she sent to Schilmiller via Snapchat, while the crime was occurring.

After they were done, they destroyed some of Hoffman’s belongings, and then texted her family to tell them that they had dropped her off at a local park.

When questioned by police, Brehmer confessed to murdering her friend, and the investigators also found texts that she sent to Schilmiller showing her sexually assaulting other teens.

For his part, Schilmiller admitted to lying about his identity to Brehmer and blackmailing her into the murder and sexual assaults. He told police that they had been planning Hoffman’s murder for approximately three weeks.

Hoffman’s family told authorities that she was likely chosen as a victim because she was a “trusting” person “whose learning disabilities put her at a younger developmental age.” Her father, Timothy, said “My daughter just wanted friends.” All of the people involved were recently indicted for first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and second degree murder. In the state of Alaska, where they are charged, each count carries a prison sentence of up to 99 years.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.


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Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

What an awful, awful story, Robert. I am so happy we have no teenagers at home in this era to monitor on social media and that even our grands are all grown up.

Jul 09, 2019 05:18 AM #1
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good afternoon Robert - these are horrific crimes and people not technology did it.

Jul 09, 2019 12:04 PM #2
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

That was absolutely horrible. It boggles the mind that people can be so cruel & heinous for money. Put all of them under the jail.

Jul 09, 2019 03:02 PM #3
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Robert- this story has my head shaking as well. We have to realize the power that the internet can have over anyone, not just young people. 

Jul 09, 2019 07:47 PM #4
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Robert Siciliano

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