Following the release of American Nightmare on Netflix, viewers have been riveted by the story of Denise Huskins. Denise was first kidnapped back in 2015, but her nightmare didn't end when she was released. The police accused her of kidnapping herself and stealing the idea from Gone Girl.
Now that many more people know the details of the case, some are wondering whether Denise sued the Vallejo Police Department in the aftermath of her kidnapping. Here's everything we know about her case.
Did Denise Huskins sue the police?
Denise sued the police in the aftermath of her kidnapping and received a $2.5 million settlement. That settlement came because the Vallejo Police falsely accused her of having orchestrated her own kidnapping, and believed that she had gotten the idea after seeing the 2014 film Gone Girl.
As the docuseries explains, police initially suspected that her boyfriend, Aaron Quinn, was behind the kidnapping, even though he had been bound up when she was taken.
The real kidnappers tried at several points to get in touch with Aaron to demand a ransom, but because he was being detained by police, he didn't have access to his phone. Denise was raped twice by her captors, who admitted that the target of the kidnapping was Aaron's ex-fiancée. After 48 hours, Denise was released 400 miles from where she had been taken after the kidnappers failed to get a ransom.
After Denise returned home, though, she discovered that the Vallejo Police suspected that she had orchestrated the kidnapping, possibly with Aaron's help.
"Mr. Quinn and Ms. Huskins have plundered valuable resources away from our community and taken the focus away from the true victims of our community while instilling fear among our community members," a spokesperson said. "So, if anything, it is Mr. Quinn and Ms. Huskins that owe this community an apology."
Denise and Aaron were subjected to these kinds of accusations for months, but when another attempted kidnapping took place 40 miles from their home, police realized that they had made a critical error. Matthew Muller was ultimately arrested, and it became clear that he was also responsible for Denise's kidnapping. Denise and Aaron have maintained that there were other assailants, both Matthew is the only person to have been arrested.
After her case was firmly closed, Aaron and Denise sued the Vallejo Police Department for defamation. In the lawsuit, they accused Vallejo officers of "a vicious and shocking attack" that "unfairly destroyed their reputations through an outrageous and wholly unfounded campaign of disparagement."
They ultimately settled the lawsuit for $2.5 million, and Aaron later authored an op-ed in which he claimed that the Vallejo Police Department should be disbanded because of their misconduct.
"Without evidence, Detective Mat Mustard and others falsely accused me of murder while ignoring leads that would have led them to Denise," he wrote. "When she was released alive, we were immediately accused of fabricating her kidnapping and sexual assaults."