Netflix has a new true crime docuseries out that's bound to make viewers angry. American Nightmare, created by Felicity Morris and Bernadette Higgins (The Tindler Swindler) tells the story of the real-life kidnapping of a young woman named Denise Huskins. In March 2015, Huskins and her boyfriend Aaron Quinn were awoken in the middle of the night by a home invader who drugged them and took Huskins hostage. The next day, Quinn struggled with what to do after receiving a phone call threatening to hurt Huskins if he went to the cops.
Trigger Warning: Rape
Eventually, Quinn decided to go to the Vallejo Police Department in California and Huskins' disappearance made national news. Quinn quickly became a suspect. But when Huskin' showed up at her parents' house days later, the general public (and investigators!) accused her of faking the whole thing. Many found connections between her disappearance and her return to the David Fincher movie Gone Girl (based on the novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn), in which Rosamund Pike's character stages her own death after discovering her husband was cheating on her.
And despite Huskins recounting to the police everything that happened — she was abducted, held in a room with goggles over her eyes, raped, and eventually let go — they didn't believe her.
American Nightmare is a chilling and frustrating look at the country's justice system, and how so many people just don't believe women. Eventually, a detective from Dublin, California named Misty Carausu began looking into the case and was able to identify a man named Matthew Muller as the prime suspect. He had been involved in another home invasion, and police were able to get a search warrant for his family's home in South Lake Tahoe. Upon entering the home, Carausu realized something bad had happened there. Someone was held captive. Muller was arrested in June 2015 and is currently in prison for kidnapping Huskins and other offenses.
Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn got married in 2018
It's been nearly a decade since Huskins was kidnapped and held captive by Muller in 2015, but fortunately, Huskins seems to have a happy life now. She and Quinn got married in 2018 and now have two children together, a three-year-old named Olivia and a one-year-old daughter named Naomi. Huskins spoke to ABC News in 2021 and discussed how her relationship with Quinn has evolved since the kidnapping:
"You can go through any kind of trauma to where it leaves you devastated and in a place where you just think, 'This is impossible to move forward from. What do I do next?' I think ours is an example of that. There is hope. It might take time and it might be a lot of hard work, but there is hope."- Denise Huskins
The couple also published a book together in 2021 titled Victim F: From Crime Victims, To Suspects, To Survivors, in which Huskins and Quinn recounted the kidnapping and how badly the justice system failed them.
The Vallejo Police Department apologized to Huskins and Quinn in 2021
After Muller was convicted of the crime, Huskins and Quinn sued the city of Vallejo and were given $2.5 million in a settlement. The couple felt incredibly hurt, understandably, by the police department's treatment and mistrust, which also depicted them as villains in the media. They were treated incredibly unfairly, which was all the most difficult considering Huskins had just been kidnapped and sexually assaulted. In 2021, the Vallejo Police Department and the city of Vallejo issued an apology to Quinn and Huskins, emailing a statement to ABC7 News:
"The Huskins Quinn case was not publicly handled with the type of sensitivity a case of this nature should have been handled with, and for that, the City extends an apology to Ms. Huskins and Mr. Quinn. On July 20, 2015, letters from former Police Chief Andrew Bidou to Ms. Huskins and Mr. Quinn indicated that once an indictment against Matthew Muller was complete, the VPD would make a public apology to the victims. Based on the comments of Ms. Huskins, while the July 20, 2015 letter was a public document, it appears that the follow up personal public apology did not take place.- Vallejo Police Department
What happened to Ms. Huskins and Mr. Quinn is horrific and evil. As the new Chief of Police, I am committed to making sure survivors are given compassionate service with dignity and respect. Although I was not chief in 2015 when this incident occurred, I would like to extend my deepest apology to Ms. Huskins and Mr. Quinn for how they were treated during this ordeal."
Keep up with Huskins and Quinn on Instagram
Now, in 2024, Huskins and Quinn are both still working in physical therapy and have started a beautiful life together with their daughters and family. Both have public Instagram pages you can follow, with Huskins seeming to be a little bit more active on the platform. Huskins uses her page to share adorable photos with their family, while Quinn tends to stick to physical therapy posts. Both have been promoting the release of American Nightmare.
It's truly heartwarming to see how well Huskins and Quinn are doing today. We wish them and their sweet family all the best.
You can stream all three episodes of American Nightmare right now on Netflix.