Father of Alaska woman killed in murder-for-hire plot dies during memorial ride marking her death

Jun 4, 2024, 11:06 AM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The father of an Alaska woman killed in a murder-for-hire scheme in 2019 died during a weekend memorial motorcycle ride commemorating the fifth anniversary of her death.

Timothy Hoffman, 58, lost control of his motorcycle Sunday in an area west of Wasilla and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, according to Alaska State Troopers. His wife, Barbara “Jeanie” Hoffman, was riding on the back of the motorcycle and seriously injured, Tanya Chaison, who is engaged to Timothy Hoffman’s brother, told the Anchorage Daily News.

The Hoffmans’ 19-year-old daughter, Cynthia Hoffman, was killed in a bizarre murder-for-hire plot involving Denali Brehmer, a woman Hoffman considered to be her best friend. Prosecutors alleged Brehmer, then 18, started an online relationship with an Indiana man she believed to be a millionaire from Kansas, Darin Schilmiller. Authorities said Schilmiller promised to pay Brehmer $9 million to kill someone and send him photos and videos of it. Brehmer allegedly recruited four friends to kill Hoffman.

Court documents said the group took Hoffman to Thunderbird Falls, a popular trail area north of Anchorage, and followed a path off-trail to the Eklutna River. Hoffman was bound with duct tape, shot and thrown into the river. Brehmer then texted Hoffman’s family saying the group dropped her off at an Anchorage park, officials said.

After Brehmer’s arrest, and after she realized she had been tricked by Schilmiller, she told authorities she had been solicited by him. She was sentenced earlier this year to 99 years in prison. Schilmiller of New Salisbury, Indiana, also received a 99-year sentence for his role in Hoffman’s death. Schilmiller admitted to federal agents and the Indiana State Police that he chose Hoffman as the victim and told Brehmer to kill her, court documents said. Sentencing for two others in connection with the case is set for later this year.

Timothy Hoffman’s children, including Cynthia, experienced developmental disabilities, and he had described steps he took to ensure they were safe, including driving them to and from school and hourly phone calls.

He was a fixture at court hearings in the case, often wearing a black leather motorcycle jacket and carrying his small support dog, Diego. He spoke in recent hearings of the hurt and devastation that Cynthia’s killing had caused his family.

Jeanie Hoffman had started finding closure following her daughter’s death, which was one of the reasons she joined Timothy on a motorcycle Sunday, said his brother, Robert Hoffman. She previously followed the memorial rides from another vehicle, he said.

Patrick McKay, who was a lead prosecutor on some of the criminal cases related to Cynthia Hoffman’s killing, called Timothy Hoffman a “zealous advocate” for his daughter and said his sudden death was “almost too unbelievable to be true.”

“I hope his family and friends take comfort in remembering that Tim died doing something he loved, with people he loved, in memory of someone he loved,” he said.

National News

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Father of Alaska woman killed in murder-for-hire plot dies during memorial ride marking her death