Imagine the following situation: A woman suddenly goes missing, and her boyfriend becomes desperate to find her. Eventually, he calls the police. But the police, unable to find the woman or generate any real leads, eventually put the boyfriend under suspicion and start investigating him.
As much as it may sound like it, this is not a capsule summary of the movie “Gone Girl.” This actually happened.
A woman named Denise Huskins once disappeared in just this way, and her boyfriend, Aaron Quinn, really was wrongly placed under suspicion by the police.
Gone Girl Becomes Reality
Quinn and Huskins were living together in Valejo, California, and like many couples, they faced some relationship troubles.
Quinn had been betrayed by an ex-fiancé in the past, and so had trust issues. The couple was working to navigate this delicate situation and find a way to make things work.
Then, on the night of March 22, 2015, a man broke into Quinn’s home in the dead of night and kidnapped Huskins. As the couple later told ABC’s 20/20 when it aired an episode about this incident on June 4, this was all a robbery gone wrong.
The couple had been awoken at 3 a.m., wearing duct-taped goggles to block their vision and with headphones on their heads playing them a pre-recorded message. The message informed them that they were being robbed and urged them to co-operate. Eventually, though, the robbers realized that they were in the wrong house.
They had actually intended to kidnap Quinn’s ex-fiancé. But because Huskins bore a striking resemblance to her, they got confused.
Despite this, the kidnappers decided to take Huskins anyway and hold her for ransom. The couple was drugged, and after Huskins was taken, Quinn was given specific instructions for the next 48 hours. If he didn’t follow them or if he contacted the police, Huskins would be killed.
Quinn’s brother was an FBI agent. Seeking his advice, Quinn was told to call the police anyway. But when the police arrived, they too began noticing the affinities between this case and that of the movie Gone Girl. After all, the movie had only recently been released back then and was still fresh in people’s minds. And so, Quinn was arrested, and the couple was accused by police of orchestrating a hoax.
Forty-eight hours after being taken, however, Huskins was released. Instead of helping her find who had taken her, or even allowing her to see her boyfriend, the police only added to the difficulty of her ordeal by subjecting her to an interrogation. Because the kidnapper was still on the loose, Huskins had been afraid to tell police two important details: that her captor had raped her and that he had a military background.
As luck would have it, though, a similar robbery to the one that Huskins and Quinn experienced occurred sometime later. This time, however, the couple had put up a real fight, and the culprit ended up losing his phone and being forced to flee. That phone was then traced to one Matthew Muller, a marine who had gone to Harvard Law School.
Muller was finally arrested, but Huskins and Quinn did not receive an apology from the Valejo Police Department until 20/20 finally publicized their story.
The couple is now married and has a daughter.