“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,” a Vallejo police spokesperson said during a press conference.
Over the coming months, the couple’s lives spiralled out of control. They hired lawyers to defend themselves, but their reputations were in tatters. They were also terrified that Denise’s abductor was still out there.
Even when the kidnapper emailed a newspaper with proof he was real, the police kept focusing on their case against Denise. And the story could have ended there if not for another extraordinary chapter.
A phone was found when a man attempted a similar kidnapping two months later, 60km from Vallejo. It was traced to Matthew Muller, a former US Marine and Harvard Law School graduate. Local police began piecing the puzzle together.
Officer Misty Carausu then discovered a pair of blacked-out goggles in Muller’s cabin with a strand of blonde hair attached, and was desperate to find the woman it belonged to.
Her search led her to Denise and the penny dropped – she and Aaron had been telling the truth.
In 2015, 38-year-old Muller was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for the kidnapping and rape of Denise. She then filed a lawsuit against the City of Vallejo and its police department, settling out of court for $3.8 million.
Despite the nightmare, the couple created their own happy ending, getting married in 2018 and becoming parents to Olivia, almost four, and one-year-old Naomi.
“It might take time and it might be a lot of work, but there is hope,” Denise said.