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Alaskan woman pleads guilty to killing ‘best friend’ after being caught

An Alaskan woman has pleaded guilty to killing her “best friend” after a man she met online said he would pay her $9 million if she sent him photos and video of her murder.

Denali Brehmer, 22, pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree murder in the June 2019 death of Cynthia Hoffman, the Alaska Department of Law said.

Cynthia Hoffman, 19, was found dead along a riverbank near Thunderbird Falls in Alaska on June 4, 2019. via Facebook

Hoffman, 19, died of a gunshot wound to the back of the head. His body was dumped in the Eklutna River, about 27 miles northeast of Anchorage, according to court documents.

The Anchorage District Attorney’s Office previously said Brehmer, who was 18 at the time of the crime, began planning the murder after a man she met online told her he would give her money in exchange. of evidence of someone being killed.

Brehmer knew the man as “Tyler” and had begun a relationship with him, but authorities said he fished her out and created a fake persona as a Kansas millionaire. His real name is Darin Schilmiller of Indiana, authorities said.

Court documents state that Brehmer and Schilmiller began planning several crimes for money, including the “rape and murder of someone in Alaska.”

Brehmer singled out Hoffman as a victim and recruited four friends — Kayden McIntosh, Caleb Leyland and two other unnamed youths — to help her, according to authorities. Brehmer told them they would get “substantial shares of money” for helping her kill Hoffman.

Denali Brehmer is at her arraignment at Anchorage Correctional Center in Anchorage, Alaska on June 9, 2019. Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News via AP File

Authorities said Brehmer and two of the teenagers tricked Hoffman into coming to Thunderbird Falls under the guise of a hike. They bound her hands, feet and mouth with duct tape, shot her in the back of the neck and dumped her body in the river, court documents said.

While the crime was being committed, Brehmer sent photos and videos to Schilmiller, authorities said.

After killing Hoffman, the group destroyed some of her belongings and texted her parents that they had left her in a park. Police said there was no evidence Hoffman had been sexually assaulted.

The Alaska Department of Law said Wednesday that Brehmer “admitted to the facts contained in the complaint initially filed in the case.” The Anchorage Police Department, the FBI and other agencies cooperated in the investigation into Hoffman’s death.

Brehmer was arrested in 2019 and charged with first-degree murder, first-degree conspiracy to commit murder, incitement to first-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence, and two counts of second-degree murder.

Following his guilty plea to first-degree murder, the other charges were dismissed, the Alaska Department of Law said. She is expected to be sentenced in August and faces 30 to 99 years in prison. Her attorney did not immediately return a request for comment on Saturday.

Schilmiller was arrested and charged with five murders, online court documents show.

McIntosh and Leyland have been indicted for four murders, according to court documents. McIntosh was also indicted for evidence tampering. All three have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial. Their lawyers could not be reached immediately.

Hoffman’s family previously said they believed she was being singled out because she had a learning disability that “put her at a developmental age below her 19 years old,” according to The Anchorage Daily News.

This story originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

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