American Nightmare: Who kidnapped Denise Huskins? Here's where Matthew Muller is now
18 January 2024, 14:36 | Updated: 18 January 2024, 14:44
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Denise Huskins' kidnapper Matthew Muller was not caught until he was arrested for committing another crime. Here's what happened to him and how long he was sentenced to prison.
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Netflix's latest true crime miniseries about the horrifying true story of the 2018 kidnap of Denise Huskins has gripped viewers, and has left people asking even more questions.
The three-part docuseries American Nightmare dropped on the streaming platform on Wednesday (Jan 17) and it's re-ignited conversation about how the Vallejo police department catastrophically failed Denise and her now-husband Aaron Quinn after she was kidnapped.
Police falsely – and publicly – accused Denise of faking her own kidnapping, comparing her case to that of the 2014 film Gone Girl, after she reappeared unharmed 48 hours later. Police decided that they did not believe Denise nor Aaron's recounting of what happened despite their clear details.
Unfortunately, Denise was, in fact, kidnapped and was released 48 hours later. The man who kidnapped her was eventually arrested and jailed, but only after he was caught attempting to do the same thing to another young woman.
Here's what happened to Matthew Muller after he was arrested...
Is Matthew Muller still in prison? Here's what happened to the American Nightmare kidnapper
Was Denise Huskins actually kidnapped? What happened to her?
In March 2015, Matthew broke into the home of Denise and Aaron. He drugged them both, bound Aaron and kidnapped Denise.
The next morning, Aaron called the police to report his girlfriend missing but they were suspicious of him because he had no idea what happened. After recounting what he knew about the events of last night, the police decided that they did not believe him, and tried to get him to admit that he had killed her.
Denise actually had been kidnapped, and had been blindfolded and taken to a house where Muller held her captive for 48 hours. In that time, he raped her twice.
Muller ended up releasing Denise after 48 hours, 400 miles away from where she was taken.
Why did Matthew Muller kidnap Denise Huskins?
Per Denise’s recounting of the ordeal, Muller told her that he had initially intended to kidnap Aaron's ex-girlfriend Andrea and had kidnapped her accidentally. He then told her that worked for a black market company that kidnaps people, holds them for ransom and then releases them once they have the money. This was not the case.
Muller was a former Marine who was now an immigration lawyer. He had been disbarred in 2013.
Why didn't the police believe Denise or Aaron?
Using footage from their police interviews, as well as interviews with the key figures in the case, the docuseries reveals that the Vallejo police department did not believe Aaron or Denise's stories because they were convinced that they were trying to recreate the film Gone Girl. (In the film, the main character ends up faking her disappearance in order to frame her cheating husband.)
They neglected to investigate the case fully, to the point where they didn't even monitor Aaron's phone after having suspicions about him being a suspect. As a result, they missed several calls and messages from Matthew, which could have prevented Denise from even more harm.
Blindsided by their theory that this was a "Gone Girl" hoax, they also did not believe Denise's story when she spoke to them after she was released.
As a result, Muller was never investigated, never suspected and was not caught.
Where is Matthew Muller now? How long is his prison sentence?
Matthew Muller is currently in prison after being convicted of the kidnapping, rape, and false imprisonment of Denise Huskins.
However, he wasn't arrested for Denise's kidnapping until an officer from another police department managed to link him back to Denise's case with clear evidence.
In June 2015, he was caught attempting to rape another young woman. Police then managed to track him down via the phone he left at the scene, and he was later arrested. A pair of blacked-out goggles with a single strand of blonde hair attached was then found, matching Denise's hair and her police statement.
In March 2017, Muller pleaded guilty to a federal kidnapping charge and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Upon his arrest, Muller told detectives that he was bipolar. He was admitted to a state hospital, and later declared mentally competent.
In 2022, he pleaded no contest to two counts of forcible rape before pleading guilty to robbery of a residential dwelling, burglary, kidnapping, and false imprisonment. He was sentenced to 31 years in prison on the state charges, and is now serving those sentences concurrently.
Muller is currently serving his sentences at FCI Tucson in Tucson, Arizona. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons inmate list, Muller, now 46, is not set to be released until July 2049.
At the end of American Nightmare, it's revealed that Denise and Aaron settled out of court for $2.5 million. None of the officers involved in the case were disciplined.
The couple, who are now married and have two daughters, also thanked their "hero" Sgt. Misty Carausu for her help in catching Muller and bringing justice to Denise and her family.
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