‘We still don’t have answers’: Denise and Aaron speak out after American Nightmare on Netflix

They say law enforcement have a ‘lack of accountability’ which is ‘at the expense of innocent victims’

Nine years on and Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn have spoken out about their ordeal, as seen in American Nightmare on Netflix. The documentary covered the horrific kidnapping case the young couple went through, and how police hadn’t believed their story.

In 2015, Aaron rang police and told them his girlfriend Denise had been abducted. He said intruders had invaded their home in the early hours of the morning, tied them both up and blindfolded them, before taking Denise.

After two days of being held hostage, Denise was brought home. She said she had been locked in a house, and sexually assaulted twice. Police dismissed the claims, and at first accused Aaron of killing his girlfriend, and when Denise returned said she had tried to carry out a real life version of the film Gone Girl, and had faked her kidnaping.

It was later proved that they had in fact been telling the truth – after detective Misty Carausu picked up a similar case in her area and began to push for answers. In 2016, Matthew Muller pleaded guilty to one count of federal kidnapping and was sentenced to 40 years.

Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn in American Nightmare on Netflix

via Netflix

However, their story isn’t over there – and Denise and Aaron have said they still have questions over their American Nightmare case. “I don’t want to disappoint people, but the truth is, we don’t have all the answers,” Denise told Tudum. “We’re never going to get the answers. We’ve had a long road of trying to accept that.”

Despite everything, Aaron has actually admitted he didn’t blame the police for their initial lines of inquiry. “I never blamed the police for being suspicious or doubting my initial story,” he told Tudum. “I was the last person with Denise. I could be looked at as a person of interest. I foolishly believed they would follow evidence.

“Even after saying I killed Denise, they made up a crazy story that we did it together. The mental gymnastics they had to go through are astounding. Even just following the basic evidence would have led them to the right conclusion, and they could have been heroes.”

In 2021 Denise and Aaron co-authored a book called Victim F: From Crime Victims To Suspects To Survivors. They have said they continue to put themselves out there and speak out about their case. “We are the lucky ones,” Denise added.

“That’s a major reason why we continue to put ourselves out there. We are the ones that had the ability to hire attorneys who stayed by our side to help ensure that we were protected as victims. We were fortunate to have an understanding of a system that’s really confusing in the first place.”

Denise and Aaron are still in touch with detective Misty Carausu, and have posted on Instagram recently with her. Speaking of Misty’s heroic work compared to other authorities, Denise said: “Seeing the great work of Misty, it’s so frustrating. [Vallejo police] have the ability to do better. It’s almost like a blatant refusal to. [My story] fits a bigger theme of the confirmation bias, the tunnel vision, the lack of accountability [of law enforcement]. I think it’s a cultural thing that they are sadly getting in their own way, and at the expense of innocent victims.”

Denise and Aaron are still together and now have two children. They got married in 2018, moved to the coast, and now share two daughters, Olivia and Naomi. Olivia was born in March 2020, and two years later in 2022, Naomi was born. Olivia is now three, and Naomi is one.

“There’s a lot to be grateful for in our day-to-day lives, and with [our daughters], it’s even more motivation to step outside of our comfort zones and expose ourselves on a bigger scale,” Denise said. “If we can influence any kind of change to help better society for them, then it’s all worth it.”

Aaron added: “We’re very fortunate to have really strong support systems from our family and friends, which was incredibly helpful to buoy [us] when we’re both struggling. And Denise is the most empathetic person I know. That made getting through this a little easier.”

But what about the kidnapper now? Matthew Muller might be in prison, but from the documentary you can tell Denise and Aaron believed he did not act alone. “When Muller was caught, there was no follow-up,” Denise told Tudum. “[Police say] he did it alone, [and cited] his mental health and that whole thing. It just seems like it was the easiest route for investigators to go to close the books on this so they can move on and get out of the public eye as quickly as possible.”

American Nightmare is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

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