Photos on Alaska murder suspect’s phone lead to new charges
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Child pornography found on the cellphone of an Alaska murder suspect led to the arrest of an Indiana man.
Federal prosecutors on Tuesday released newly unsealed documents and announced the arrest of Darin Schilmiller, 21, of New Salisbury, Indiana.
He is charged with production of visual depiction of minors in sexually explicit conduct and attempted receipt of those depictions.
Online court records do not list his attorney who could comment on the case.
In a criminal complaint, FBI Agent Jessica Hais said Schilmiller directed the recording of sexually exploited girls by Denali Brehmer, 18, of Anchorage.
Brehmer is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Cynthia “CeeCee” 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. She had been shot in the back of the head.
Brehmer is represented by the Alaska public defender’s office, which did not immediately respond to an email request for comment. It has a policy of not commenting on pending cases.
Brehmer told police that she and Kayden McIntosh, 16, accompanied Hoffman to the popular trail and planned to take photos of each other tied up.
At some point, police said, McIntosh took a gun from Brehmer, shot Hoffman 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.
McIntosh is charged as an adult with first-degree murder and evidence tampering. Another adult and male and female juveniles are charged with conspiracy in the case.
During a search of Brehmer’s phone, police reported finding sexually explicit photos and text messages to Schilmiller discussing them.
Brehmer told police she shot video of a girl who was 8 or 9 and another who is 15 and sent them to Schilmiller. In interviews, she referred to him as “Tyler” from Kansas.
Hais, who is part of the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force, said in the criminal complaint that investigators determined “Tyler” was Schilmiller. Text messages on Brehmer’s phone show Schilmiller directing Brehmer on how she should assault the older girl, authorities said.
Chloe Martin, spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor’s office in Anchorage, said by email that Schilmiller will be extradited to Alaska.
The story has been corrected to say the suspect’s hometown is New Salisbury, Indiana, not Salisbury.