Federal, local and state authorities searched Tuesday for a Vallejo woman who they believe may have been kidnapped for ransom.
Dozens of investigators and searchers were seen combing through Mare Island on Tuesday, looking for Denise Huskins, 30, who was reported missing Monday from a residence in the 500 block of Kirkland Avenue.
An unidentified man who was in the house at the time said Huskins was taken against her will in the early morning hours Monday. Her car, also believed to have been taken from her home, was later found in Vallejo, according to police.
“We are concerned for Ms. Huskins’ well-being,” said Lt. Kenny Park during a news conference posted online by Fox40 in Sacramento. “We are very concerned that this has happened in our community.”
“At this moment, Ms. Huskins’ whereabouts are unknown and we are treating this matter as a kidnap for ransom,” Park said. “We have dedicated all our resources, and we are giving it full, undivided attention until we can locate Ms. Huskins and secure her safe return.”
Huskins, described as 5 feet 7 inches tall, 150 pounds, with blond hair and blue eyes, is a physical therapist at Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center. According to her Facebook page, she moved to Vallejo last June. Park said that Huskins is originally from Southern California.
Authorities searching Tuesday were challenged by the geography of the vast peninsula, a former naval facility that is dotted with wetlands and abandoned buildings. Detectives also requested help from the state Department of Justice and Solano County Office of Emergency Services search and rescue team.
The enclave where Huskins was allegedly abducted is the sparsely populated region’s lone residential outpost. With views of nearby wetlands, the modern suburban tract homes draw working professionals and students alike.
Patrick Vandeweg, who said he lives next door to the home where Huskin was taken, said the house belongs to her boyfriend, Aaron Quinn.
“We didn’t hear anything. We didn’t see any commotion,” Vandeweg said, referring to the time of the alleged kidnapping Monday. Vandeweg said he last saw Quinn on Sunday in passing.
He said Quinn also is a physical therapist at Kaiser and worked in the same department as Huskins. Vandeweg said the couple had been dating for about five months.
Vandeweg said he saw Huskins’ vehicle, a silver SUV, being towed by police Tuesday.
With few details released – Park said he did not believe the house had been robbed and investigators are developing a description of the possible kidnappers, he said – neighbors were on edge. Several declined to talk for fear of retribution.
Neighbor Joon Park, a medical student at nearby Touro University, described the area as quiet and peaceful. He wasn’t allowed back into his home Tuesday afternoon as police cordoned off the entire block searching for clues.
“A good number of students live here,” said Park, 23.
Residents said the area is a welcome haven from the main, crime-ridden part of the city across the water.
“This scared the hell out of people,” said John Kirby, who lives behind the house where Huskins was allegedly abducted. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
Kirby, like other residents, said he noticed an uptick in crime since the police substation on the island closed a few months ago.
“There’s been a lot more burglaries and break-ins lately,” Kirby said.
Police are asking for the public’s help in finding Huskins. Call Vallejo police investigations, (707) 648-4524, with information.
Call The Bee’s Richard Chang at (916) 321-1018. Follow him on Twitter @RichardYChang.