Denise Huskins: Who Kidnapped Her & What Happened Afterward?

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Written By Sedoso Feb

Disclaimer: This article contains mentions of assault. Reader discretion is advised.

Denise Huskins’ infamous 2015 “Gone Girl” kidnapping has been in the headlines for nearly a decade. People Magazine reported that Matthew Muller, an ex-marine and disbarred lawyer, broke into Huskins and her boyfriend Aaron Quinn’s Vallejo home on March 23. Muller terrorized the couple, kidnapped Huskins, and took her to a remote location where he raped her. The kidnapper kept her captive and finally released her two days later.

Authorities and media initially refused to believe the couple’s story and dubbed Huskins’ kidnapping the “Gone Girl” hoax after Gillian Flynn’s famous book. Per the outlet, they only found justice a few months later when Muller was caught committing a similar crime. Investigators then found evidence that linked him to Quinn and Huskins’ claims.

In 2016, Denise Huskins’ kidnapper, Matthew Muller, pleaded guilty to federal kidnapping charges and received a 40-year sentence. Muller faced additional state charges of kidnapping, rape, burglary, and robbery, but was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Meanwhile, Huskins and Quinn sued the City of Vallejo and reached $2.5 million in 2018, per The New York Post. People Magazine further reported that the couple tied the knot that same year and are now parents of two daughters.

Recently, Netflix’s true-crime series American Nightmare chronicled Huskins’ story. The three-part series is now available to stream on the platform.

How was Denise Huskins’ kidnapper caught?

According to People Magazine, Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn had to wait months to get justice after the March 2015 attack. Law enforcement caught Huskins’ kidnapper, Matthew Muller, three days after the second home invasion incident. Initially, the media and police believed the couple’s claims to be a hoax. Then, in June, police investigating a case of home invasion 40 miles away in Alameda County found evidence that linked Muller to Huskins’ kidnapping incident.

The New York Post stated that the three months between the attack and Muller getting caught were “unsustainable” for the couple. Quinn told People Magazine, “Those months in between were unsustainable and we weren’t able to go back to work.” He claimed that the cause was “partly because of trauma and partly because they wouldn’t let us.”

Quinn claimed that the hoax made it difficult for him and Huskins’ to return to work, “Who wants to hire a hoaxer? So that’s a big challenge in the digital age. You can’t move towns and get away from it. Anyone can just search you and then decide ‘I don’t want to work with this person,’ or ‘I don’t want to hire this person.’”

Denise Huskins’ kidnapping took place in the early morning hours of March 23, 2015, per the outlet. She and her boyfriend Aaron Quinn were asleep when Muller broke into their home, bound them using zip ties and put blacked-out swimming goggles and headphones on them playing recorded messages. The intruder also forced the duo to ingest a sedative before kidnapping Huskins, Quinn recounted to ABC News. The attacker also stole their belongings, including Quinn’s laptop.

Quinn claimed to have woken up the next afternoon after taking the sedative. He then informed police about the said abduction, but they treated him as a suspect in Huskins’s disappearance. Law enforcement reportedly accused him of harming his girlfriend and helped him in questioning for 18 hours.

On March 25, two days after the kidnapping, Denise Huskins turned up alive near her mother’s house in Huntington Beach. People Magazine reported that Huskins’ recalled details from her kidnapping in Netflix’s American Nightmare. She claimed that the kidnapper Matthew Muller raped her twice while he held her captive for ransom. She alleged that the attacker recorded videos of both the assaults and threatened to release the footage publicly.

After Huskins’ release, the Vallejo Police Department called the incident an “orchestrated event and not a kidnapping.” During a press conference at the time, a Vallejo P.D. spokesman said, “Mr. Quinn and Ms. Huskins have plundered valuable resources away from our community and taken the focus away from the true victims of our community while instilling fear among our community members. So, if anything, it is Mr. Quinn and Ms. Huskins that owe this community an apology.”

Eventually, in June of that year, an investigator looking into a break-in in Dublin, California, 40 miles from Vallejo, made a breakthrough. On the night of June 5, 2015, an intruder broke into a couple’s home, but they fought off the attacker and called 911. The attacker escaped, leaving behind a cell phone, zip ties, duct tape, and a glove.

The detectives who cracked the case, Misty Carasau, traced the phone to Matthew Muller’s stepfather. Authorities later learned that Muller was also a suspect in a 2009 home invasion robbery in Palo Alto. Reportedly, Carasau found a pair of swimming goggles blacked out with duct tape in the suspect’s possession. Attached to those, they found a blond hair. Investigators then reported the evidence to the FBI to look into him as Denise Huskins’ possible kidnapper.

Dublin police arrested Muller on June 8, 2015, for the local home invasion case. The FBI soon took him into custody after discovering evidence that linked him to Huskins’ kidnapping. The evidence included Aaron Quinn’s stolen laptop.

According to People Magazine, David Muller is an ex-Marine and a disbarred attorney. Muller claimed that he suffered from the Gulf War illness. His attorney later said that he also suffered from bipolar disorder.

Muller pleaded guilty to one count of federal kidnapping in September 2016 and received 40 years in prison. Moreover, he faced state charges such as kidnapping, two counts of rape by force, robbery, and burglary. At first, Muller was mentally incompetent to stand trial on the state charges, but then, in 2022, he pleaded guilty, per People Magazine.

According to the California Department of Corrections, David Muller’s current location remains undisclosable.


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