SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Police who dismissed a California woman’s kidnapping as a hoax found her boyfriend’s account of the abduction doubtful and grew more skeptical when the woman refused to reunite with her family soon after she reappeared days later, attorneys for police said.
The explanation by lawyers for the city of Vallejo and two city police officers came in a court document filed last month seeking to dismiss parts of a lawsuit filed by the kidnapping victim, Denise Huskins, and her boyfriend, Aaron Quinn.
Their lawsuit – filed in March – accuses police of damaging their reputations by dismissing the 2015 kidnapping as a hoax akin to the Hollywood movie, “Gone Girl.”
Federal prosecutors have since charged a disbarred Harvard University-trained attorney, Matthew Muller, with Huskins’ kidnapping from her Vallejo home, and the city has apologized to Huskins and Quinn. Muller has pleaded not guilty.
Kevin Clune, an attorney for Huskins and Quinn, said the court filing showed the city was continuing “its misguided approach of blaming the victim.”
“Denise and Aaron have already experienced unimaginable horror at the hands of Vallejo,” he said. “We have complete faith that the court will hold Vallejo accountable for its outrageous tactics.”
During the initial investigation, Quinn told investigators that intruders had placed blackened swim goggles over his eyes and headphones playing soothing music over his ears, said Vallejo police Detective Mathew Mustard, the lead investigator in the kidnapping. They drugged him and took his blood pressure.
When Quinn said he was cold, they made a bed for him. Quinn received demands for $8,500, a figure Mustard said he found small for what would be an elaborate kidnapping.
“I was skeptical of Mr. Quinn’s story because of its outlandish nature,” Mustard said in a court filing accompanying the attorneys’ motion to strike parts of Huskins and Quinn’s lawsuit.
Quinn also waited hours to report the abduction and told investigators that the couple had been having relationship problems, according to Mustard.
Huskins turned up safe two days later in her hometown of Huntington Beach, where she says she was dropped off. She showed up hours before the ransom was due.
When law enforcement offered to fly her back to her family in Vallejo, she refused, Mustard said.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.