true crime

After two years of hell, the "real life Gone Girl" Denise Huskins is getting justice.

When Denise Huskins contacted police in 2015 to tell them she had been kidnapped and raped by an unknown masked man, they dismissed it as a hoax, saying the Californian woman “didn’t act like a victim,” and claiming she had likely been inspired by the hit movie of the summer, Gone Girl. 

“If anything, it is… Ms Huskins that owes this community an apology,” police said at the time.

Following the ordeal, Huskins told police she and her boyfriend Aaron Quinn had been asleep inside their Vallejo, California home on March 22 when at around 3am they were woken by a masked stranger inside their home.

real life gone girl
The home Huskins and Quinn shared. Source: 20/20.

After being bound and blindfolded, the pair were then forced to drink a cocktail of sedatives and cough syrup, she said, with Quinn corroborating that he awoke inside the pair's home hours later and learned that the kidnapper had escaped in his car, with Huskins in the boot.

Huskins then claimed the man kidnapped and sexually assaulted her multiple times before she was eventually set free and discovered near her parents' home in Huntington Beach - over 400 miles away from the home she shared with Quinn - four days later.

Local police were adamant, though, that the story was a hoax, and because of their stance, both Huskins and Quinn were subjected to months of horrific online harassment, accused of lying and attention seeking.

real life gone girl
Huskins and Muller at a press conference in 2016. Source: 20/20.

But within weeks, Matthew Muller, a former US Marine and disbarred Harvard Law School attorney, plead guilty to the crime and admitted to spying on Huskins and Quinn - both physical therapists who had begun dating just seven months earlier - using a remote-control drone in the days leading up to his attack.

Muller admitted to taking Huskins to his South Lake Tahoe home following the attack, where he filmed himself sexually assaulting her twice, before setting her free in Huntington Beach.

real life gone girl
Matthew Muller. Source: 20/20.

Muller also admitted the gun he had used in the attack was fake.

Appearing in court this week for sentencing, the Associated Press reports Huskins called the ordeal the "hell we have survived" and during her testimony admitted, "I still have nightmares every night. Sleep is not rest for me. It is a trigger.”

Speaking directly to Muller, Huskins said, “You treated me like an object, a toy, an animal."

A now 39-year-old Muller was handed down a 40-year prison sentence.

Police, however, are yet to formally apologise for the public scepticism they showed towards Huskins or Quinn at the time, simply reiterating that Huskins "didn't act like a victim."