Alaska Teen's 'Best Friend' Among 5 Charged After Her Shooting Death

"The only thing I know is that my daughter trusted these people," the victim's father said

Cynthia Hoffman
Photo: Family Photo

When the parents of a 19-year-old Alaska woman reported her missing a day after she went to the park with friends, they didn’t think they’d be planning her funeral a week later.

On June 3, the parents of Cynthia Hoffman told police their daughter and two friends visited Polar Bear Park the day before and Hoffman didn’t return home, according to an account of events released by the Anchorage Police Department.

Detectives interviewed Denali Brehmer, 18, and Kayden McIntosh, 16, and quickly learned the trio never made it to Polar Bear Park, but visited Thunderbird Falls where McIntosh allegedly shot Hoffman in the back of the head and pushed her into a nearby river, police say.

McIntosh and Brehmer were each charged with one count of murder and one count of tampering with evidence, according to online court records. Their bail was set at $200,000.

In addition to McIntosh and Brehmer, three more people have been arrested. Police allege two juveniles — a male and female whose names aren’t being released — “were involved in the planning of this homicide with Brehmer and McIntosh,” according to the police report.

Caleb Leyland, 19, was arrested for one count of murder, one count of conspiracy to commit murder and multiple counts of sexual assault with a minor.

Leyland allegedly told police he helped plot the killing of Hoffman and lent his SUV to Brehmer in order to commit the crime, according to charging documents obtained by local newspaper The Alaska Star.

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The juvenile male allegedly told police all five people discussed kidnapping and killing Hoffman, the paper reports.

When investigators found Hoffman’s body, her feet were duct taped together, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Two Snapchat videos were given to police which included Brehmer allegedly apologizing to family and friends. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do it,” she said, according to police reports.

The Anchorage Daily News reports the victim’s family has said she has a learning disability and functions at a younger developmental age than 19. Hoffman’s father, Timothy Hoffman, told the paper his daughter considered Brehmer her “best friend” after they met in high school.

On Sunday, as Brehmer and McIntosh were in court, local TV station KTVA recorded comments from Timothy as he spoke to the judge.

“The only thing I know is that my daughter trusted these people,” Timothy said. “My daughter just wanted friends, and now I have to bury her. And that is wrong.”

None of the defendants have entered a plea, according to online records. Lawyer information for the defendants was not immediately available.

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