A 16-year-old boy was charged with murder Wednesday in the death of a 19-year-old woman whose body was found near a popular hiking trail in the Chugiak area.
Kayden McIntosh faces charges of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence in the shooting death of Cynthia “CeeCee” Hoffman. It was not immediately clear how the two knew each other.
Family members had initially reported Hoffman missing Monday, saying she was last seen by a friend the previous day at the Polar Bear playground at Russian Jack Springs Park, police said.
However, detectives now believe that Hoffman was never at the park at all, and that a false story was fed to her family by the alleged killer and another woman after Hoffman was already dead.
A charging document filed against McIntosh in court Wednesday reveals what detectives believe actually happened, leaving Hoffman duct-taped and dead near the Thunderbird Falls Trail.
According to the charging document, Hoffman was with McIntosh and a woman Sunday. The woman had not been charged in the case by Wednesday afternoon.
The woman’s mother told police Monday that her daughter and a friend were at her home the night before. The mother said they told her the friend had shot Hoffman in the head and pushed her into the water, the charges say.
Police then interviewed the daughter Tuesday. The woman told detectives that she, McIntosh and Hoffman had been smoking marijuana in the Valley on Sunday when they started driving toward Anchorage, the charges say.
Along the way, they stopped at a parking lot near the Thunderbird Falls Trail and walked down the embankment behind the bathrooms, Anchorage Police Department spokesman MJ Thim said.
“They walked into the woods and were playing around in the woods,” the charges say. “The three of them agreed to duct tape each other and take photographs.”
Hoffman was bound by her ankles and wrists with duct tape. She also had duct tape placed over her mouth, the charges say.
“However, CeeCee started to panic,” the charges say. “They removed the duct tape from CeeCee’s mouth and hands. CeeCee began to tell them she was going to call the police and tell them that they had kidnapped her and sexually assaulted her.”
The woman was holding a pistol, according to the charges, and then McIntosh took the gun from her hand and shot Hoffman in the back of the head.
The woman said Hoffman was on the ground and possibly trying to call police, according to the charges. She saw Hoffman twitching before McIntosh pushed her into the creek, charges say.
The woman told detectives that she and McIntosh went back to her vehicle in the parking lot. McIntosh told her to text Hoffman’s sister and make up a story about dropping her off somewhere, the woman told detectives. The woman said she complied because she was scared, the charges say.
According to police, McIntosh and the woman drove to the Polar Bear playground with Hoffman’s belongings and used her phone to send text messages to her family saying she had been dropped off at the park. They then drove to Lions Park in Mountain View, and McIntosh burned Hoffman’s purse, some of her clothing, her ID and the gun he had used to shoot her, police and the charges said.
When detectives later interviewed McIntosh on Tuesday, he also told detectives that he, the woman and Hoffman had been smoking marijuana and decided to drive to Anchorage, the charges say.
They stopped at Thunderbird Falls and followed the trail along the river, he told detectives. He said they were hanging out and all agreed to duct tape Hoffman and take photographs, according to the charges, and then Hoffman started panicking and threatened to call the police.
“He stated he ‘blacked out,’ but that he remembers shooting CeeCee and pushing her into the river,” according to the charges. “He remembers CeeCee twitching before he pushed her in the water and does not know if she died from the gunshot wound or from drowning.”
McIntosh told detectives he didn’t want the other woman to go to jail, according to the charges. He also admitted to burning Hoffman’s personal items and the gun, according to the charges.
Based on information from the false text messages on Sunday, Hoffman’s father and police initially searched for Hoffman at the Russian Jack playground, but they turned up nothing.
“This entire time, that dad was going on a wild goose chase based on information from the fake text,” Thim said.
It wasn’t until Tuesday that police found a body in a creek, where the woman told them the murder happened, charges say. The feet were duct taped together. The body is pending identification.
At an initial court appearance Wednesday in Anchorage, McIntosh remained silent, only nodding or shaking his head in response to the judge’s questions. He spoke only to answer a question about how much income he’d made in the last year — $100, he said. He has no prior criminal record, according to charges.
The judge appointed a public defender for him while members of Hoffman’s family sat in the front row.
Timothy Hoffman, Cynthia’s father, told the court he wasn’t convinced by McIntosh’s version of events and asked for the teenager to be held without bail. Bail was set at $100,000.
“This wasn’t a blackout situation,” he said. “This was planned and this was followed through, and now I don’t have a daughter.”
He said he became worried Sunday when Cynthia, who he said normally texts him every three hours when she’s gone, never checked in.
Timothy Hoffman described his daughter as an innocent and sweet person who was always trying to make him proud. He said she had been studying in a post-high school life skills program and doing construction work for his company. She had been hoping to get her driving permit soon, he said.
Cynthia’s father didn’t know McIntosh, he said, though the woman had been at his house a few times. He said Cynthia had described her as her “best friend.”
“Now I have to show no emotions to my other children to get them through all this,” he said. “The best place for that man is to stay behind the walls.”
The woman who was with McIntosh and Cynthia Hoffman on Sunday was questioned by police and released, according to Thim. Additional charges might be filed, he said.
Hoffman’s death brings the number of people killed in Anchorage this year to 16. The homicide is the first in the Chugiak-Eagle River area since March of 2016, when Marcus Cosby Jr., 24, was found dead of gunshot wounds outside an Eagle River apartment complex.
The ADN’s Matt Tunseth contributed to this story.