48 Hours
July 31, 2021 8:05 AM   Subscribe

A two part series from Criminal, the podcast. Hear directly from these real life victims of a robbery/kidnapping/rape/extortion scheme and how the Vallejo police turned on them in a surreally horrifying twist.

48 Hours - Part 1, Part 2.

The gist of the story is that in 2015, a couple was awakened in the night, bound, drugged and threatened. The woman, Denise Huskins, was kidnapped, raped and held before being release alive by the kidnapper. Her boyfriend, Aaron Quinn, was left behind with instructions to not contact police and that he would soon receive information on how to transfer money for her release. Unfortunately, on the advice of his FBI agent brother, he called the police and things went from absolutely terrible to worse.

They've recently published a book about their ordeal titled Victim F and the media continues to (disgustingly, IMO) refer to their story with the clickbaity 'Gone Girl' narrative in their headlines. This was no 'Gone Girl' story. There are still many questions unanswered.
posted by amanda (19 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
From memory, I think that at first it was this horrifying story, and then it was revealed to be a hoax by these two and then it was confirmed to NOT have been a hoax after all and really a terrible thing that happened to them.
posted by stevil at 8:35 AM on July 31


I mean, it was revealed to be a hoax in that the first police officer just decided it couldn’t be real and then he and all others around him just doubled and tripled down on these poor people with zero evidence to back up their gut feelings. One officer who spoke out about the mishandling was fired.
posted by amanda at 10:57 AM on July 31 [11 favorites]


This is the same Vallejo police department that has a party and then bends their badge tips as some form of secret society for officers who murder cilivians. One of their most infamous recent murders: a cop shot through the windshield of his own car 5 times to kill a teenager who was on his knees and cooperating.

I definitely remember the media-police "Gone Girl" smear campaign of this couple at the time, but hadn't heard the full story until this podcast.
posted by bradbane at 11:23 AM on July 31 [10 favorites]


I listened to this when it was launched and found it mind-boggling and riveting. I hadn't heard of the case before.

It used to be that when I heard mention of Vallejo California, I thought of the Zodiac Killer. That unconscious mental jump has been replaced by thoughts of the incompetent Vallejo police department.
posted by dobbs at 11:23 AM on July 31


There is something truly wrong, unusually wrong, about the Vallejo PD.
posted by suelac at 12:45 PM on July 31 [3 favorites]


I also heard it back when it came out. I found the whole thing HORRIFYING.
posted by Archer25 at 4:25 PM on July 31


A sort of summary of the case if you want context before diving into the podcast: https://johnglidden.com/2021/02/11/vallejo-police-lieutenant-who-accused-couple-of-faking-2015-kidnapping-leaves-department/
posted by Ickster at 5:22 PM on July 31 [3 favorites]


There is something truly wrong, unusually wrong, about the Vallejo PD.

FTFY
posted by axiom at 9:50 PM on July 31 [2 favorites]


vallejo pd
posted by j_curiouser at 10:27 PM on July 31 [6 favorites]


Phoebe Judge and team are the best storytellers in the business. They did justice to this horrifying event.
posted by double bubble at 7:16 AM on August 1 [2 favorites]


Criminal is a truly terrific podcast.
posted by MinPin at 9:22 AM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Don’t they have a book coming out soon? I don’t normally go for that kind of non-fiction in book format but I’d be more than happy to contribute some of my cash towards the financial security of the couple involved.
posted by double bubble at 12:00 PM on August 1


What a fascinating, awful story.

Matthew Muller's bizarre plan is like something from a technothriller, complete with a startup and playing audio files.

Vallejo PD -I'd love to learn more about what they were saying in-house about this. What bastards.
posted by doctornemo at 12:41 PM on August 1


I read the book after listening to the podcast, and though there are some interesting details etc, I found it badly written on a few levels. (They had a writer help them.) I was fascinated at how carefully they had to thread the needle about policing as a field (they are very clear about the Vallejo police being bad).

I don't remember hearing about the story before the podcast.
posted by jeather at 12:42 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


I’m fairly cynical about police right now so the notion that the Vallejo force would be more terrible than some other force seemed unlikely. But the linked New Yorker article posted by j curiouser has some real doozies to say nothing of the murders and assaults while on duty.
posted by amanda at 9:24 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


I didn’t LIKE the story j_curiouser posted but it’s vitally important to read. What a recounting of so many abuses of power.
posted by holyrood at 10:31 AM on August 2


Did I hear correctly that the planned ransom for this kidnapping was $17,000? That's shockingly low. And what was the deal with the "black market kidnapping startup"?
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 6:52 PM on August 2


Did I hear correctly that the planned ransom for this kidnapping was $17,000? That's shockingly low.

According to the FBI, the average take from a bank robbery is $4200ish, or your more run o the mill robbery less than $1800.
posted by bradbane at 7:10 PM on August 2 [1 favorite]


I think many of the unanswered questions come from the perpetrator of this crime. The victims feel certain there was more than one perpetrator. But it was also clear that the kidnapper wanted it to seem like more than one person was there. Denise felt like there was more than one person at the place where she was held but seemingly never saw the other people. I think he really wanted it to seem like a gang. We can’t really trust his story at all but what is his story? He tried to do this thing again. Had he done it before? For a guy potentially having a mental break with reality, he really spent time on the details.
posted by amanda at 6:32 AM on August 3


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