Months after an alleged kidnapping was deemed a hoax by California authorities, a Marine who is now a Harvard-educated lawyer has been charged in the "Gone Girl-style" abduction, according to the FBI.
Police arrested Matthew Muller, 38, at his South Lake Tahoe home in connection to the kidnapping after police found similarities to a separate home invasion in June.
On March 23, Aaron Quinn contacted the Vallejo Police Department claiming his girlfriend, Denise Huskins, was kidnapped. Quinn claimed intruders broke into the couple’s home and took Huskins, demanding $8,500 in ransom.
According to a press release the FBI issued this week with information from a sworn affidavit, Quinn initially told authorities that someone broke until his house while he was sleeping and shined a bright light into his eyes. The intruder then drugged him and demanded he lie face down on the bed. The intruder then ordered Huskins to bind Quinn with zip ties and ordered both victims into the closet. The kidnapper then placed headphones and eye goggles on Quinn. The headphones were used to play a recorded message that provided Quinn with instructions.
The suspect then obtained financial information and passwords from Quinn, according to the FBI. The intruder also left a voice message on Quinn’s cell phone instructing him to tell whoever inquired about the financial transaction that the funds were to be used to purchase a ski boat. The suspect fled with Huskins in Quinn’s car.
When Huskins turned up two days later, unharmed in her hometown of Huntington Beach, hours before the ransom was due, police said the kidnapping was staged and that there was no evidence to support the couple’s claims.
An investigation at Muller’s South Lake Tahoe home found a laptop that resembled Quinn’s, as well as a water pistol with a flashlight and laser pointer on it. People who claimed responsibility for Huskin’s kidnapping emailed photos of the items to a newspaper, and that photo turned up on a cell phone in Muller’s car, according to the Associated Press.
In a press conference on Monday, Huskin and Quinn’s lawyers said the couple wants an apology and “real action” from the Vallejo Police Department. The couple has not commented on whether they will take legal action against the police department. Requests for comment from the Vallejo Police Department went unanswered Tuesday.
Prior to attending and teaching at Harvard University, Muller served as a Marine from 1995–1999. In 2008 he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Muller’s law license was suspended in 2013 after he failed to pay annual dues. In January 2015, he was listed as not eligible to practice law. He is currently being held at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, California, according to ABC News.
Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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