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Press Release

Six Indicted for Thunderbird Falls Homicide

June 14, 2019

(Anchorage, AK) – Today, an Anchorage grand jury indicted 21-year-old Darin Schilmiller of New Salisbury, Indiana, 18-year-old Denali Brehmer of Anchorage, 16-year-old Kayden McIntosh of Anchorage, 19-year-old Caleb Leyland of Anchorage, Jane Doe 06022019, and John Doe 06022019 for Murder in the First Degree, Conspiracy to Commit Murder in the First Degree, and two counts of Murder in the Second Degree relating to the death of Cynthia Hoffman. In addition, Schilmiller and Brehmer were each indicted on a count of Solicitation to Commit Murder in the First Degree. Brehmer was further indicted on a count of Tampering with Physical Evidence and McIntosh was indicted on four counts of Tampering with Physical Evidence.

On June 2, 2019, Cynthia Hoffman was murdered in Thunderbird Falls near the Eklutna River by way of a single-gunshot wound to the back of the head. According to the allegations in the bail memorandum, investigation revealed that Brehmer and McIntosh drove Hoffman to Thunderbird Falls where McIntosh allegedly shot Hoffman in the back of the head and moved her body into the Eklutna River.

The bail memorandum also alleges further investigation revealed that this murder occurred because of the solicitation by Schilmiller. Schilmiller allegedly offered to pay Brehmer $9 million or more to carry out the murder and send him videos and/or photographs of the murder. Brehmer recruited McIntosh, Leyland, Jane Doe 06022019 and John Doe 06022019 to assist in the planning and/or execution of the murder. In exchange, all of them would receive a significant sum of money for their part in the planning and/or execution of the murder.

If convicted at trial, the defendants face a sentence of up to 99 years imprisonment for each of the murder charges, the conspiracy to commit murder charge, and the solicitation to commit murder charge. In addition, Brehmer and McIntosh face up to five years imprisonment for each of the tampering with physical evidence charges.

The charges in the indictment are only allegations and are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Schilmiller is currently in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A state arrest warrant in the amount of $1 million has been issued for Schilmiller’s arrest, and he cannot have contact with co-defendants. He will be arraigned once extradited to Alaska to face these charges. Brehmer, McIntosh, and Leyland are in the custody of the Department of Corrections and will be arraigned Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 1:45 p.m. in superior court. John Doe 06022019 and Jane Doe 06022019 are in custody at this time. No further information on John Doe and Jane Doe is currently being provided.

To address questions that have been raised regarding when juveniles are automatically waived or waived as a matter of discretion to adult court, see AS 47.12.030 and AS 47.12.100.

At this time, the Department of Law is not providing any further comment on this matter beyond what is contained in the publicly released court documents.

More information about the Anchorage District Attorney’s Office is available at http://www.law.alaska.gov/department/criminal/adao.html.

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Department Media Contact: Senior Assistant Attorney General Cori Mills at (907) 465-2132 or cori.mills@alaska.gov.