Crime Watch 8

Indiana man accused of orchestrating a gruesome murder for hire in Alaska

Indiana man offers millions of dollars for images of murder in Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP/WISH) — An Indiana man is under arrest, accused of orchestrating a gruesome murder for hire in Alaska and offering millions of dollars to make it happen.

 Darin Schilmiller, 21, of New Salisbury, Indiana was arrested earlier this month and charged with production of visual depiction of minors in sexually explicit conduct and attempted receipt of those images. Federal investigators were led to him after child pornography was found on the cellphone of Alaska murder suspect Denali Brehmer. 

Brehmer, 18, and 16-year-old Kayden McIntosh and 19-year-old Caleb Leyland and two minors are charged in the murder of 19-year-old Cynthia Hoffman. Hoffman was killed June 2 near a rural Anchorage trail. Police found her bound with duct tape in the Eklutna River near Thunderbird Falls. Brehmer told police McIntosh shot Hoffman in the back of the head and pushed her into the river.

Brehmer and McIntosh then drove to a park, called Hoffman’s family and said they were dropping her off at the park, police said. They went to another park and burned Hoffman’s purse and other items and the gun used in the shooting, police said.

In text messages to Brehmer, Schilmiller confessed to a child porn fetish and rape fantasies, according to excerpts of conversations detailed by an agent with the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force. 

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In a criminal complaint, FBI Agent Jessica Hais said Schilmiller directed the recording of sexually exploited girls by Denali Brehmer, 18, of Anchorage. Brehmer told police she shot video of a girl who was eight or nine years old and another who is 15 and sent them to Schilmiller.

Investigators said he promised the teens who killed Hoffman $9 million for the exchange of images of the killing. Investigators said Schilmiller pretended to be a wealthy man named Tyler from Kansas. They also said the teens in Alaska did send images from the crime to Schilmiller through social media app Snapchat. 

The victim’s father said the suspects should be locked up for life.

“I want them all to know the only thing that they are going to be doing for the rest of their life, is spend time in jail for the whole conviction. I expect that judge to throw the book at them,”  Timothy Hoffman Sr. said. 

Schilmiller is in the custody of U.S. Marshals. He is awaiting extradition to Alaska where he is charged with murder and other crimes.