Believing victims: City to pay Vallejo couple $2.5M in bizarre kidnapping case
VALLEJO, Calif. (KTVU) - The city of Vallejo has agreed to pay a $2.5 million settlement for a federal lawsuit filed by a couple in a bizarre kidnapping case from 2015.
An attorney for Denise Huskins and her fiance Aaron Quinn said his clients are "grateful."
James M. Wagstaffe, the couples attorney, issued a statement Thursday that said, "One can only hope that the message of this settlement will be that victims are to be believed and that the police will accept a woman’s highly credible report that she was kidnaped and raped.” He added that the "nightmare" experience has concluded.
The lawsuit accused the city and two police officers of defamation and inflicting emotional distress.
The ordeal began in March, 2015 when Huskins, 30 at the time, was forcibly taken from her Mare Island home by an unknown abductor and a ransom demand was made.
Police did not believe the story, initially saying the case was a hoax and many compared it to the film 'Gone Girl', in which a woman goes missing and then lies about being kidnaped when she reappears.
Police eventually apologized for their mistake.
In March of 2017, two days after Huskins' kidnaper, ex-lawyer Matthew Muller was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison, the couple got engaged and posted photos publicly on Facebook.%INLINE%
During the trial, the couple gave gut-wrenching testimony against their tormentor. They said he drugged them and bound them in their home in an elaborate kidnapping that involved spying on them with a remote-controlled drone.
Muller, the kidnaper, even came to Huskins’ defense, blasting police for not believing her story. He went as far as writing a series of bizarre emails and a manifesto, including writings to KTVU's Henry Lee, outlining what he had done.
The City of Vallejo admits no wrongdoing in the settlement. %INLINE%