California couple's kidnap-for-ransom claim: Things to know
KRISTIN J. BENDER
Mar. 28, 2015
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A California woman and her boyfriend say kidnappers entered their house in the middle of the night this week, abducted the woman and held her for ransom before releasing her two days later. Police are skeptical.
Here are some key things to know:
At about 2 p.m. Monday, 30-year Aaron Quinn called police to report that his girlfriend was abducted from their San Francisco Bay area home in the pre-dawn hours.
Quinn's lawyers say he awoke to a bright light in his face, and two kidnappers bound and drugged him.
The strangers then took 29-year-old Denise Huskins from the couple's Vallejo house and demanded an $8,500 ransom by noon Wednesday, according to Quinn and his attorney Dan Russo.
Quinn was prepared to pay the amount, Russo said, but Huskins turned up Wednesday morning in her hometown of Huntington Beach, about 400 miles away.
She called her father and said she was dropped off at her mother's home, found no one there, and walked 12 blocks to her dad's apartment.
HOAX OR KIDNAPPING?
Hours after Huskins' called her father, Vallejo police revealed they found no proof of a kidnapping and believed it was a hoax.
Quinn's delay in contacting authorities aroused suspicion, police spokesman Kenny Park said.
"It was such an incredible story, we initially had a hard time believing it, and upon further investigation, we couldn't substantiate any of the things he was saying," Park said at a news conference Wednesday night.
But Quinn and Huskins are adamant it wasn't a hoax and have told authorities that they're the victims, their attorneys say.
Huskins met with Vallejo detectives for several hours Thursday "with the hope of clearing her name because she is absolutely, unequivocally, 100 percent, positively a victim," her lawyer Doug Rappaport said.
Russo said Quinn was in "terrible shape" after the ordeal and was "exhausted both mentally and physically." Quinn also has talked at length with police, Russo said.
On Tuesday, while Huskins was still missing, the San Francisco Chronicle received an email from an anonymous person claiming to be holding her.
According to the newspaper, the person wrote that Huskins would be returned safely the next day.
"We will send a link to her location after she has been dropped off. She will be in good health and safe while she waits," the email read. "Any advance on us or our associates will create a dangerous situation for Denise. Wait until she is recovered and then proceed how you will. We will be ready."
The email included an audio file of a woman identifying herself as Denise Huskins, who mentioned Tuesday's airliner crash in the French Alps to verify she was alive.
Mike Huskins confirmed the voice in the file was his daughter's, the Chronicle reported.
The case has raised a number of questions, including what the motive would have been for either a kidnapping or a hoax.
Also a mystery is the origin of the email and audio recording sent to the Chronicle.
In addition, no explanation has been given for the $8,500 ransom amount, and no description of the alleged attackers has been released.
Quinn's attorney Amy Morton said Friday her client couldn't describe the kidnappers because of the light shining in his eyes during the attack.
Authorities tested Quinn's blood to determine if he was drugged, but they haven't revealed the results yet, Russo said.
An official from the Solano County District Attorney's Office said Friday prosecutors are consulting with police on the case.
Meantime, Quinn and Huskins are free, neither charged with any crimes. The two are physical therapists who met on the job and began dating last year.
Vallejo police did not return calls about their comments Friday.
Associated Press writer Ellen Knickmeyer contributed to this report.