Initially accused by police of a hoax, victims in Vallejo kidnap want city to pay
The Vallejo couple terrorized when an intruder broke into their home a year ago and abducted the woman sued the city of Vallejo on Tuesday in federal court, saying the Police Department’s initial dismissal of the case as a hoax created a “vicious and shocking attack on two victims.”
Lawyers for Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, seeking compensation for infliction of emotional distress, false arrest, defamation and other claims.
The suit, filed in the same courthouse where kidnap suspect Matthew Muller faces trial scheduled for next January, follows the couple’s filing of a claim against the city in September. Vallejo offered an apology to the couple last year, but the claim for damages was rejected in January.
Huskins, 30, and Quinn, 31, say in the suit that they were victimized after an intruder slipped into their home, drugged and tied up Quinn and abducted Huskins.
The 30-page suit claims that after Quinn reported the abduction and went to police headquarters he was “promptly and maliciously treated like he had already been convicted of murdering Huskins.”
Police took his clothing, gave him pants with “Solano Prison” printed on them and interrogated him for nearly 18 hours as Huskins was being spirited away by her kidnapper, the suit claims.
Huskins was sexually assaulted twice by her abductor, the suit says, and she eventually was released in Huntington Beach near her parents’ home.
Even after her release and her communication with police, Vallejo police were characterizing the incident as a hoax, the suit says.
“Today, there is no evidence to support the claims that this was a stranger abduction or an abduction at all,” the department said in a press release, according to the suit. “Given the facts that have been presented thus far, this event appears to be an orchestrated event and not a kidnapping.”
That stance created a “worldwide frenzy” comparing the case to the film “Gone Girl,” the suit says, that continued until Muller was arrested following a similar abduction attempt in Dublin.
Vallejo City Attorney Claudia Quintana did not respond to a message left at her office Tuesday.
Muller, a Sacramento-area man who is a former Marine and lawyer, pleaded not guilty last year.