The documentary ‘American Nightmare’ on Netflix delves into a case that captured the nation’s interest. Denise Huskins was kidnapped from her boyfriend Aaron Quinn’s residence, prompting suspicions to fall on him. However, upon her return, both law enforcement and the media refused to acknowledge any criminal activity against them. Instead, they became hostile towards the couple, accusing them of deceiving the public with their actions and squandering state as well as federal resources. In this original production, Aaron actively participates to recount his side of the story and detail the events that transpired.
Aaron Quinn was Suspected by the Police
In 2015, Aaron Quinn resided on Mare Island and had a girlfriend named Denise Huskins, with both of them working together as physiotherapists. They had initiated their relationship around the summer of 2014. However, they had issues since his ex-fiancée, Andrea, also worked alongside them and he had not only maintained communication with her but also occasionally expressed a desire for reconciliation. In fact, in March 2015 Denise discovered text messages between her partner and his ex, leading to a heated argument. But alas, upon recognizing his love for his current girlfriend, he decided to take proactive steps to overcome his feelings for Andrea. On March 22, he vowed to her he’d seek professional help to navigate his emotions and become a better partner.
Little did Aaron know that in the dead of night, around 3 a.m. on March 23, intruders would enter his home, claiming it was a robbery. They swiftly blindfolded him using zip ties and administered sedatives, leaving him disoriented. Although he sensed a similar situation unfolding for Denise, who was staying the night, he couldn’t hear her voice. When he regained consciousness around 11 a.m. on the living room couch downstairs, she was nowhere to be found. Shortly after, he received a text demanding a ransom of $11,000, accompanied by a warning not to involve the police. Conflicted about the course of action, he ultimately chose to alert the authorities around 2 p.m., unsure of the safety and well-being of Denise.
Upon recounting his story to the Vallejo police, Aaron was met with disbelief. The authorities found his narrative implausible, subjecting him to a grueling 18-hour interrogation. They probed extensively into his relationship with Andrea, insinuating his potential involvement in Denise’s disappearance. They essentially theorized he’d killed and disposed of the latter in the hopes of reconciling with his ex-fiancée. Additionally, as per reports, he was compelled to undergo a lie detector test, during which he was informed that he had undoubtedly failed. Feeling overwhelmed and under immense pressure, he decided to seek legal representation. He called a lawyer, who promptly intervened, removing him from the interrogation environment. The lawyer listened to his account and, unlike the police, believed his side of the story.
Aaron experienced a sense of relief the following day when an audio clip of Denise surfaced, providing clear evidence of her being alive. When she reappeared near her childhood home in Huntington Beach 48 hours after the abduction, he was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude. However, his relief was tinged with distress over the media’s portrayal of her and their unwillingness to accept her account of the kidnapping. Despite the evidence of their ordeal, both Aaron and Denise found themselves labeled as perpetrators of a hoax by the Police Department. The authorities accused them of wasting government time and resources, adding to their harrowing experience.
Aaron Quin is a Physiotherapist Even Today
Thankfully though, Matthew Mulller was soon identified as the perpetrator of Denise’s kidnapping and assault, and Aaron continued to steadfastly stand by her side, offering unwavering support. Together, they addressed the media, reaffirming that their version of events had been truthful all along. He later even discovered that the results of the lie detector test had been inconclusive, and he had been misled by the authorities. In 2021, alongside his now-wife Denise, he co-authored the book ‘Victim F: From Crime Victims to Suspects to Survivors,’ wherein they shared their harrowing ordeal. They also continue to do this even now through interviews as well as public appearances as a way to shed light on their experience and ensure that such misjudgments are not bestowed upon anyone else.
It’s also imperative to note that in 2016, Aaron and Denise took legal action against the City of Vallejo plus a few named individuals, filing a defamation lawsuit. Despite the police department’s refusal to acknowledge the allegations made against them, the case was settled outside of court in 2018. The city agreed to compensate the couple with $2.5 million. By this point, the couple was engaged (since March 2017), and they tied the knot in September 2018.
In 2020, Aaron and Denise welcomed their first child, a daughter named Olivia, and in 2022, they became parents to a second daughter, Naomi. He, maintaining his profession as a physiotherapist, is also a Doctor of Physical Therapy to this day. Initially, he had kept the traumatic events in his personal life separate from his public identity, aspiring to be recognized foremost as a successful physiotherapist. However, he has come to realize that part of his healing involves embracing and accepting his story, signaling a shift towards owning and sharing his experiences.