The bad news is that Bay Area kidnapping and assault victim Denise Huskins continues to have to see her traumatic story from 2015 splashed on news broadcasts and the internet, all these years later. But the good news is that the man responsible is going to be behind bars for a very long time.
It was a case of a highly intelligent and mentally ill man, whose illness was going untreated, and whose psychosis led him to plotting elaborate home-invasion capers and imagining himself part of some cabal of "gentleman criminals" like Ocean's Eleven. His own insane "manifesto" of sorts, sent to the San Francisco Chronicle after the disappearance of Huskins in March 2015, led investigators to jump to the premature conclusion that this was all a hoax, spun up by Huskins and/or her boyfriend for attention.
But it turned out to be a very dark and traumatic tale that was not the stuff of Hollywood heist movies, but more the stuff of indie thrillers and tales of survival from sexual trauma. The suspect, Matthew Muller, was a Harvard-educated lawyer who was out conducting "practice" missions for grander crimes, he said, stealing cars and personal information on Mare Island, in Vallejo, where Huskins was visiting her boyfriend, now husband, Aaron Quinn for the night.
It would turn out, as they would later explain, that Muller had arrived intending to kidnap Quinn's ex-fiancee, who had only recently moved out, and who also had blonde hair. But he decided to take Huskins anyway.
Muller drugged both Quinn and Huskins, putting headphones on them that played pre-recorded messages suggesting a group of thieves, as opposed to just one. He demanded the bizarrely small ransom amount of $8,500, and then after taking Huskins to a home in Tahoe and assaulting her multiple times, seems to have had some remorse and dropped her off near one of her parents' homes in Southern California.
It later came to light that Muller had conducted other, similarly bizarre home invasions around the Bay Area, and the case broke open when he was arrested for another home-invasion robbery in Dublin several months later — in which he dropped a cellphone in a scuffle and left it behind. Muller quickly confessed to the crimes, the FBI became involved, and the next year, Huskins would be suing the Vallejo Police Department for how horrifically they botched her case and humiliated her on television. She and Quinn ultimately won a $2.5 million settlement.
Despite his attorney arguing that he suffered from "truly debilitating" bipolar disorder with extreme paranoia and psychosis, Muller would be convicted and sentenced in 2017 to 40 years in a federal kidnapping case.
Until this year, though, Muller had yet to stand trial in the state's case, which charged him with the sexual assault of Huskins, as well as robbery, burglary and the false imprisonment of Quinn. Last year, we learned that the trial was delayed because Muller had been committed to the Napa State mental hospital and was being forcibly treated for mental illness.
But today, as KTVU reports, Muller, now 44, is set to plead no contest to all charges, and to be sentenced to 31 additional years, bringing a final end to this case being in the public eye. That is until another TV movie gets made.
Huskins and Quinn published a book about the case last year titled Victim F: From Crime Victims, To Suspects, To Survivors. The couple appeared on an ABC News special last June, both to promote the book and discuss their road back to a normal life. (They maintain there had to be other suspects involved, but no one besides Muller has ever been charged with any crime in this case.) Huskins gave birth to a daughter, Olivia, in 2020, five years to the day that she was released by Muller.