VALLEJO (CBS13) — A settlement has been reached in a defamation lawsuit over a kidnapping that Vallejo Police at one point publicly called a hoax.
The settlement comes nearly three years to the day of the kidnapping of Denise Huskins in March 2015. On March 25, Huskins was found safe at her father’s home in Huntington Beach, more than 400 miles from Vallejo.
On the night of March 25, 2015, Vallejo Police spokesman called the investigation “a wild goose chase” and declared that Huskins and her boyfriend Aaron Quinn were no longer being treated as victims or witnesses.
“Mr. Quinn and Ms. Huskins have plundered valuable resources away from our community, and have taken focus away from the true victims of our community while instilling fear amongst our community members,” Park said that night. “So if anything, it’s Mr. Quinn and Ms. Huskins that owe this community an apology.”
But the coming months would reveal much more to the case that eventually led to a lawsuit against the city and the police department.
Days later, a person claiming to be the ringleader of a group behind the kidnapping sent a letter to The San Francisco Chronicle demanding an apology. He would back away from that threat later.
In July 2015, FBI agents arrested Matthew Muller, a former Marine who suffers from Gulf War Syndrome and is bipolar. The FBI complaint says Huskina and Quinn were told “They would not be harmed and that it was only financial.” But Denise Huskins wasn’t supposed to be the target. The affidavit says Muller’s actual target was Quinn’s former fiancee, but when the kidnappers realized their mistake, they decided to carry out the crime anyway.