Federal child pornography charges against Indiana man related to shooting of Anchorage teenager

Police say an Indiana man arrested on federal child pornography charges is connected to the shooting death of an Anchorage teenager earlier this month.

Nineteen-year-old Cynthia Hoffman was found bound and shot to death in a river north of Anchorage. According to charging documents filed in the case, 16-year-old Kayden McIntosh pulled the trigger. He is charged with first degree murder, along with 18-year-old Denali Brehmer and 19-year-old Caleb Leyland.

Leyland allegedly provided a car for what the charges describe as a plot to
kill Hoffman.

According to the state charges, McIntosh and Brehmer told detectives Hoffman had agreed to be duct taped so they could take pictures, but Hoffman started to panic and threatened to report the other two for kidnapping and sexual assault. According to the charges against Brehmer, she admitted to handing McIntosh a handgun and telling him to shoot Hoffman.

As part of their investigation, detectives seized Brehmer’s cellphone. Now, according to charges unsealed Monday in federal court, investigators say they found graphic images of child pornography.

The charges say Brehmer had been texting a 21-year-old Indiana resident named Darin Schilmiller in the days around Hoffman’s death. The court documents include transcripts of messages between the two in which Schilmiller directed her to take sexually explicit photos of two minor victims, as well as record videos of child sexual abuse to send to him.

In one message included in the charges, Schilmiller seems to threaten Brehmer, writing that he would tell the police he had made Brehmer rape people and kill Hoffman.

Federal authorities in Indiana arrested Schilmiller on Monday. A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office says Schilmiller will be extradited to Alaska to face the charges and that more charges may be forthcoming in the investigation as it continues.

Anchorage police described Schilmiller as a “person of interest” in Hoffman’s homicide in a short written statement Tuesday. The Anchorage Police Department did not respond to a request for comment.

This story has been corrected to reflect that Denali Brehmer is 18, not 19.

Casey Grove is host of Alaska News Nightly, a general assignment reporter and an editor at Alaska Public Media. Reach him at cgrove@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Casey here

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