Matthew Muller is a former Marine and Harvard-educated lawyer who kidnapped and raped Denise Huskins in 2015, in a case that was initially dismissed by the police as a hoax. Muller was eventually captured and sentenced to 40 years in federal prison, and later to 31 years in state prison for his crimes. He is currently incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona, and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and psychosis.
Who is Matthew Muller?
Background and education
Matthew Muller was born in 1976 and grew up in Orange County, California. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in political science, and then joined the Marine Corps, where he served as an intelligence officer and a captain. He later earned a law degree from Harvard Law School and worked as an immigration lawyer in San Francisco.
Disbarment and criminal history
Muller’s legal career was short-lived, as he was disbarred in 2015 for failing to pay his bar dues and for mishandling his clients’ cases. He also had a history of mental illness and substance abuse, and was arrested several times for various offenses, such as burglary, theft, and assault. He was also suspected of being involved in other home invasions and sexual assaults in the Bay Area, but was never charged for those crimes.
The Kidnapping of Denise Huskins
Details of the kidnapping
On March 23, 2015, Muller broke into the home of Aaron Quinn and his girlfriend Denise Huskins in Vallejo, California. He used a remote-controlled drone to surveil the house, and then entered through an unlocked door. He wore a wetsuit and goggles, and carried a fake gun and a flashlight. He tied up and blindfolded the couple, and injected them with a sedative. He then took Huskins in the trunk of his car, and left Quinn behind with a ransom note demanding $8,500 and a recorded message warning him not to contact the police.
Muller drove Huskins to his family’s cabin in South Lake Tahoe, where he held her captive for two days. He raped her twice, recorded videos of her, and made her wear swimming goggles covered with duct tape. He also played prerecorded messages that claimed he was part of a group of elite criminals who had kidnapped her for a “training mission”. He told her that he would release her if she cooperated, and that he would kill her if she tried to escape.
On March 25, 2015, Muller drove Huskins back to Southern California and dropped her off near her parents’ home in Huntington Beach. He gave her a pair of sunglasses and a backpack with some of her belongings, and told her to wait for a phone call from him. He also warned her not to talk to the police or the media, and said that he would monitor her movements.
Controversy surrounding the case
Meanwhile, Quinn had reported the kidnapping to the Vallejo Police Department, but they did not believe his story. They thought that he was lying and that he had killed Huskins or staged the kidnapping with her. They compared the case to the movie “Gone Girl”, in which a woman fakes her own disappearance to frame her husband. They also accused Huskins of being a willing participant in the scheme, and said that she was hiding from them.
The police publicly denounced the kidnapping as a hoax, and said that they had wasted their resources and time on the investigation. They also said that they would seek criminal charges against Quinn and Huskins for making false statements. They did not apologize or retract their statements, even after Huskins was found alive and Muller was arrested.
Police mishandling of the investigation
The police’s handling of the case was widely criticized by the media, the public, and the victims. The police failed to follow the basic protocols and procedures for a kidnapping case, such as securing the crime scene, collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, and contacting the FBI. They also ignored or dismissed the clues and leads that pointed to Muller’s involvement, such as the ransom note, the recorded message, the surveillance footage, and the anonymous email that Muller sent to a reporter claiming responsibility for the kidnapping.
The police also violated the victims’ rights and privacy, by leaking their personal information, questioning their credibility, and exposing them to ridicule and harassment. They also refused to cooperate with the FBI and the prosecutors, and withheld crucial evidence from them. They also delayed the identification and arrest of Muller, and jeopardized the safety and recovery of Huskins.
Capture and Sentencing of Matthew Muller
The chance arrest
Muller was arrested on June 8, 2015, for an unrelated crime. He had attempted to rob a home in Dublin, California, but was scared off by the homeowner. He left behind his cell phone, which was traced to him by the police. The police searched his car and his home, and found evidence that linked him to the Huskins kidnapping, such as a laptop, a drone, a pair of goggles, a flashlight, and a video of Huskins.
Muller confessed to the kidnapping, and said that he acted alone and that he was mentally ill. He also said that he was sorry for what he had done, and that he wanted to help the victims. He cooperated with the authorities, and provided them with more details and evidence about the crime.
Muller’s prison sentences
Muller pleaded guilty to federal kidnapping charges in 2016, and agreed to a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. He was sentenced in 2017, and apologized to the victims and their families in court. He also said that he was suffering from bipolar disorder and psychosis, and that he had been self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. He asked for forgiveness and mercy, and said that he hoped to get treatment and rehabilitation.
Muller also faced state charges of rape, robbery, burglary, and false imprisonment, which were filed in 2018. He pleaded not guilty to those charges, and was deemed unfit to stand trial due to his mental condition. He was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, where he received medication and therapy. He was later restored to competency, and pleaded no contest to two counts of forcible rape in 2022. He was sentenced to 31 years in state prison, to be served concurrently with his federal sentence.
Outcome of the trial
Muller’s trial and sentencing brought some closure and justice to the victims and their families, but also raised questions and concerns about the criminal justice system and the mental health system. Muller’s case highlighted the need for more awareness and support for people with mental illnesses, and the challenges and barriers they face in accessing and receiving proper care and treatment. Muller’s case also exposed the flaws and failures of the police and the prosecutors, and the need for more accountability and oversight for their actions and decisions.
Current Status of Matthew Muller
Where he is now
Muller is currently serving his prison sentences at the United States Penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona, a high-security facility that houses male inmates. He is expected to spend the rest of his life behind bars, unless he is granted parole or clemency. He is also subject to civil lawsuits filed by the victims and their families, who are seeking damages and compensation for their physical and emotional injuries.
Updates on the case
Muller’s case is still ongoing, as there are pending appeals and motions filed by both the defense and the prosecution. Muller’s lawyers have appealed his federal sentence, arguing that it was excessive and unreasonable, and that the judge did not consider his mental illness and his cooperation as mitigating factors. The prosecutors have also appealed his state sentence, arguing that it was too lenient and that it did not reflect the seriousness and the brutality of his crimes.
Impact on the victims and their families
Muller’s case has had a lasting and profound impact on the victims and their families, who have suffered from trauma, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The victims have also faced stigma, discrimination, and harassment from the public and the media, who have doubted and questioned their credibility and their motives. The victims have also struggled to rebuild their lives and their relationships, and to heal from their wounds and scars.
The victims have also shown remarkable courage, resilience, and strength, by speaking out and sharing their stories, and by seeking justice and accountability. The victims have also advocated for change and reform in the criminal justice system and the mental health system, and have raised awareness and support for other survivors of kidnapping and sexual assault.
Matthew Muller is a kidnapper and rapist who terrorized and traumatized Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn in 2015, in a case that was initially dismissed by the police as a hoax. Muller was eventually captured and sentenced to 40 years in federal prison, and later to 31 years in state prison for his crimes. He is currently incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona, and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and psychosis.
Muller’s case is a complex and controversial one, that involves issues of mental illness, substance abuse, law enforcement, prosecution, and victimization. Muller’s case is also a tragic and compelling one, that reveals the horrors and the hardships of kidnapping and sexual assault, and the courage and the resilience of the survivors. Muller’s case is also an important and relevant one, that raises questions and challenges for the criminal justice system and the mental health system, and that calls for change and improvement for the future.