In the early hours of March 23, 2015, Denise Huskins was abducted from her boyfriend’s bed.
Huskins’ now fiance, Aaron Quinn, told Vallejo Police Department he woke up to a bright light in his face. Two people then bound and gagged him, before abducting Huskins and demanding a $220,000 ransom in two $110,000 instalments.
Two days later, just before the ransom was due, Huskins reappeared.
Police then called a press conference. They told the public there was not enough evidence in the case and declared it a hoax.
They believed Huskins and Quinn had orchestrated the whole thing.
Huskins was dubbed the real life “Gone Girl” and the couple was roundly vilified by media outlets around the world.
Then the case took an unexpected turn.
An eerily similar failed kidnapping occurred in the same small Californian community. That led police to a man named Matthew Muller.
In Muller’s car, FBI agents found Quinn’s computer and water goggles covered with tape and a long blonde strand of hair attached.
Muller was arrested and he later admitted to being the lone perpetrator in Huskins’ kidnapping.
Huskins, now 32, would later recall how she woke to someone saying, “Wake up, this is a robbery, we’re not here to harm you”.
She said Muller then forced her to tie Quinn’s feet and hands together while saying, “You’re doing a good job”.
Over a 48 hour period, Muller allegedly raped Huskins twice. Huskins tried to bond with her kidnapper, telling him she had been assaulted in the past, hoping that he would protect her.
But he did not.
After 48 hours, her kidnapper blindfolded her and drove her about seven hours south to her hometown of Huntington Beach, California.
“When he opened the car door I thought… this is it,” she told Good Morning America earlier this year. “Either I’m going to hear a gunshot and that’s it, or I’m going to get pushed off a cliff.”
“He was guiding me. And I thought I was walking to my death.
“Then I heard a door close behind me, and I pulled up the blindfold, and I saw a toilet and a cement room. And I thought, ‘Oh God, he is going to release me’.”