Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn were the victims in a kidnapping case that was so strange Vallejo Police deemed it unbelievable and compared it to the book and movie, “Gone Girl.” Today, their tragedy has reached a happy ending. They are now married with a daughter in 2021.
Quinn and Huskins were married in 2018, and they have both found their voices in speaking out about the case. The couple wrote a book, “Victim F: From Crime Victims to Suspects to Survivors,” which will be released June 8, 2021. They are also vocal about their case and advocate for other crime victims on their Facebook pages. While Huskins is more publicly vocal on social media, Quinn defends her against Internet trolls who still call the case a hoax.
Matthew Muller, a Gulf War Marine veteran and Harvard-educated lawyer, was convicted in federal court in 2017 for the kidnap, but has not yet faced trial on his charges filed by the state of California, according to his jail records. Read more about the case here. Huskins and Quinn spoke to ABC 20/20 about their experiences, and say their trauma was inflicted both by Muller and the judicial system. The episode airs at 9 p.m. Eastern time June 4, 2021.
Here’s what you need to know:
Huskins’ & Quinn’s Daughter, Olivia, Was Born on the 5th Anniversary of Huskins’ Release From Her Captors
Huskins and Quinn have a one-year-old daughter, who Huskins told ABC 20/20 filled a void in her life.
“You can go through any kind of trauma to where it leaves you devastated and in a place where you just think, ‘This is impossible to move forward from. What do I do next?’” she told ABC News. “I think ours is an example of that. There is hope. It might take time and it might be a lot of hard work, but there is hope.”
Huskins shares about tender moments with her daughter on her Facebook page. On June 2, 2021, she wrote about the baby girl’s love for music.
Our one-year-old daughter loves Brandi Carlile, especially this song with Alicia Keys. It moves me to tears each time I hear it, especially as we prepare to release our book and speak out publicly. In the years we had to stay silent, we were inspired and empowered by other survivors who bravely used their voice.
“I have a voice; Started out as a whisper, turned into a scream; Made a beautiful noise… and I let it speak for the ones who aren’t yet really free…”
After their terrifying ordeal, Quinn and Huskins were thinking about each other, they told 20/20. Quinn was afraid Huskins would not want to see him, but she said on the show she was thinking about how safe she felt in his arms. At the same time, she told ABC she was “sick with anticipation” and wondered if he, too, thought she was “this horrible liar.”
“I just wanted to hold her. I just wanted to tell her I was sorry,” Quinn told ABC. “I was really afraid that she wouldn’t want to see me … that she would just want to wipe her hands clean.”
They were engaged March 18, 2017, Huskins wrote on Facebook.
While they may have had fears about where their relationship would lead, Marianne Quinn said on the show she knew they would be bonded for life.
“No one’s going to understand what they went through except each other,” she told 20/20.
They were married in 2018 in Monterey, California, ABC News reported. Aaron Quinn told reporters their first dance as husband and wife was Dierks Bentley’s “Riser.” He described the song to ABC as “very much about overcoming a tragedy and rising like a phoenix from the ashes.”
They were preparing for their wedding at the same time as they were preparing for a court hearing, Huskins wrote on Facebook September 19, 2018. She shared an article saying Matthew Muller, who has now been convicted in the case, would likely cross-examine her.
So this is happening.
I honestly don’t even have words to describe what we are feeling.
This is the easiest way for me to let friends and family know this is going on next week, the week of our wedding.
We welcome any and all thoughts, prayers and support. We surely will need it as we enter this next battle. But we WILL be ready to celebrate on our wedding day!
Six days later, she wrote that the hearing was postponed for one month and that they were able to “leave all this alone for a little bit and enjoy a fabulous wedding weekend.”
Huskins & Quinn Sued the Vallejo Police Department & the Case Was Settled Out of Court
Quinn and Huskins sued the City of Vallejo, the Vallejo Police Department and several officers in 2016 claiming defamation and other allegations, according to ABC News. The news outlet reported the case was settled out of court for $2.5 million with no party admitting any wrongdoing.
In December 2020, John Whitney, who was the Vallejo Police Captain during the case, filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the city and police department, ABC News reported. The lawsuit claims he was wrongfully terminated “for speaking out on a variety of issues that he characterized as misconduct, including ones related to Huskin and Aaron Quinn’s case” and that the former police chief told him to delete texts from his cellphone so they could not be used as evidence for the previous lawsuit, ABC reported.
The city of Vallejo and the Vallejo Police Department have not made any statements in response to the allegations of Whitney’s lawsuit as of June 3, 2021, ABC News reported.
Huskins wrote in 2017 that some people still claimed online she was lying about the attack. She shared a post on Facebook January 1, 2017, and described the PTSD symptoms it stirred in her.
After reading this I went into one of my many PTSD episodes of terror. My jaw and back are sore from the deep powerful shaking and reflexive tension that my whole body goes into. My eyes are sore and red from uncontrollable tears. I am thoroughly exhausted, every inch of my body is tired from the fit of terror it was battling. This was his goal, and I couldn’t fight it. Congratulations, person I have never met, never heard of who hates me so much that he went out of his way to message me this disgusting, demeaning, dehumanizing outrage.
Quinn also shared the post, saying Huskins was his “hero” and should be treated as such by others.
I post this because I cannot believe the amount of unwarranted hatred Denise Huskins has received from law enforcement’s flat out lie. This message was sent yesterday, more than a year and a half after one of the kidnappers was caught. Denise endured unimaginable horrors and should have been treated like a hero when she got home but instead she continues to endure vile messages such as this one. Nevertheless she conducts herself with love and grace. She’s my favorite person and unquestionably my hero.
Please remember words are powerful, use them to lift people up instead of tearing them down.
On the first anniversary of the kidnapping, March 21, 2016, Quinn shared a photo on a sunrise and a message of hope.
This day last year Denise Huskins and I woke up to a living nightmare of organized intruders bent on causing us harm. This pain was exacerbated by those who swore to protect us. It’s been a horrendous year, the scars from this event will be carried with us for the rest of our lives but today we’re grateful to watch the sunrise over the clouds on Haleakala Volcano. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the love and support from our families and friends. We have suffered from the evil in people but we’ve also been lifted by the good. I don’t know what the future holds but I am confident in this “he who has a ‘Why’ to live for; can bear almost any ‘How’