On March 23, 2015, Denise Huskins and her boyfriend Aaron Quinn were at Quinn’s home in Vallejo, California, when they were awoken by a masked intruder who drugged and bound them and then abducted Huskins. The physical therapist was held for 48 hours in another location and was sexually assaulted twice as her boyfriend received instructions to pay her ransom.
Two days later, Huskins was released in Huntington Beach but the case would only get stranger from there. The Vallejo Police Department, who had been skeptical of Quinn’s story, publicly accused Huskins of lying about the events and accused them of wasting police resources, PEOPLE reported.
It wasn’t until a few months later when a similar case occurred in the area and led to the arrest of a former Marine and attorney, Matthew Muller. Evidence collected in that failed kidnapping tied Muller to Huskins’ kidnapping and in 2016 he pleaded guilty to the crime and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Huskins Testified That She Was Kidnapped & Sexually Assaulted Twice Before She Was Released
In a public preliminary hearing for Muller in 2019, Huskins spoke about the events in March 2015 when she was kidnapped and held for about 48 hours in Vallejo, California. She said, “I didn’t know what was going to happen,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported. “This was supposed to be a robbery and with no one getting hurt, but everything continued to get worse. So, I started to expect the worst.”
On March 23, 2015, just after midnight, Huskins and her boyfriend Aaron Quinn were woken up in Quinn’s home by a masked man holding what appeared to be a gun with a flashing strobe light, the outlet wrote. Huskins said she was told to tie up Quinn before the intruder bound her and the two were pushed into the closet.
The couple was drugged and threatened and made to give out passwords to the intruder, who already knew a lot of information about Quinn. The intruder then took Huskins with him when he left and drove her to another location, where she would be held captive for two days and raped twice. After that, he drove her to her hometown of Huntington Beach and released her near her parents’ house, Huskins testified.
The Abduction Was a Case of Kidnapping for Ransom But Authorities First Said It Was a Hoax
After Huskins was safely released, the case made national headlines when Vallejo police accused her of making up the entire ordeal. In a press conference after she was released, the Vallejo Police Department said, “none of the claims has been substantiated” and even accused the couple, who are now married, of taking “valuable resources away from our community,” ABC reported.
Quinn said when he contacted the police about his girlfriend’s kidnapping, the detective told him he didn’t believe him and people began saying he’d killed her. According to the outlet, Quinn said if Huskins hadn’t been released, “I would be behind bars.”
Huskins and Quinn were validated when, a few months later, a failed kidnapping took place that had a lot of similarities to her own ordeal and resulted in Muller’s arrest. The police department wrote Huskins a private apology but never publicly apologized for their treatment of the couple, ABC News reported.
The couple sued the police department and eventually settled for $2.5 million, but details from an affidavit showed that Vallejo authorities mishandled the case and could have actually found Huskins where she was being held captive, the Chronicle reported.