A 2015 American kidnapping case receives a focused examination in Netflix’s “American Nightmare.” Created by Felicity Morris and Bernadette Higgins, the docuseries dives deep into the abduction of Denise Huskins, featuring interviews with primary figures Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn.
The case of Denise Huskins’ kidnapping by Matthew Muller has gripped the nation. On March 23, 2015, Huskins was abducted. Subsequent events revealed she was sexually assaulted twice and filmed at a South Lake Tahoe property before her release near her family’s Huntington Beach home two days later.
Muller, a former marine and disbarred lawyer, faced justice for this heinous crime. In federal court, he pled guilty to kidnapping for ransom and received a 40-year sentence on March 16, 2017.
He is currently serving time in FCI Tucson prison, Arizona, with his release slated for July 2049. State charges resulted in a no-contest plea to rape; guilty to robbery, burglary, kidnapping, and false imprisonment brought him an additional 31 years to run concurrently.
Evidence against Muller included video footage of the assaults found on his South Lake Tahoe property; a stolen computer from his house; and GPS records linking to the Huntington Beach address. His own inconsistent statements were damning.
To KPIX Reporter and The San Francisco Chronicle, Muller suggested the abduction wasn’t random and claimed to be part of a group before admitting he acted alone.
Aaron Quinn, Huskins’ partner at the time of the kidnapping, was unjustly interrogated by police after being drugged the night of the abduction.
Vallejo Police initially deemed Huskins’ kidnapping a hoax—later extending public apologies following Muller’s conviction. Quinn and Huskins subsequently filed a lawsuit against the Vallejo Police Department and settled in their favor for $2.5 million in 2018.
Chronologically, after Huskins’ abduction in March 2015, further evidence arose in June when Muller left his phone behind at another attempted kidnapping in Dublin.
The path to justice began when federal charges were brought forward that October. By 2020, while awaiting state trial proceedings, Muller’s mental health assessment halted processes as he spent time at Napa State Hospital before receiving his state sentence in 2022.
The aftermath saw Quinn and Huskins not only marry but also welcome a child. They successfully sued the Vallejo police for defamation earning a $2.5 million settlement in 2018.