FBI affidavit alleges Muller confessed to Vallejo kidnapping

DUBLIN, Calif. (BCN) -- A Sacramento County man accused of kidnapping a Vallejo woman in March allegedly confessed to the crime in a recorded jailhouse interview and said he did it alone, according to an FBI affidavit filed in federal court.

Matthew Muller, 38, of Orangevale, is charged with kidnapping physical therapist Denise Hoskins at the Vallejo home she shared with her boyfriend on March 23 and keeping her captive for two days before dropping her off near her mother's house in Huntington Beach.

Vallejo police initially believed the account by Hoskins and her boyfriend, Aaron Quinn, was a hoax and said the couple led investigators on a "wild goose chase."

But a cell phone Muller allegedly left behind in a separate home-invasion burglary in Dublin in June led to alleged evidence that caused prosecutors to charge Muller with the Vallejo kidnapping in federal court in Sacramento on June 29.

The supposed confession was made by Muller to local television reporter Juliette Goodrich in an interview at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on July 17, according to the affidavit filed by FBI agent Wesley Drone in U.S. District Court in Sacramento on Aug. 14.

Goodrich did not report on the alleged confession because Muller told her that part of the interview was off the record, but the interview was taped by jail authorities as a routine procedure, Drone said.

"In the context of discussing the kidnapping of (Hoskins) 'off the record and on background,' Muller said there was no gang and it was just him," Drone wrote.

Muller also said he had a psychotic break in 2009 and "ascribed his behavior to mental illness, a belief in some kind of conspiracy and some kind of supposed side effect from a vaccine," Drone said in the affidavit.

The affidavit also appeared to indicate that Muller acknowledged writing two lengthy anonymous emails sent to the San Francisco Chronicle on March 26 and 28 in which the sender said the kidnapping was not a hoax, sought to clear Hoskins' name and expressed remorse.

Drone wrote that in the recorded interview, Muller "said that the anonymous emails were sent because the Vallejo police said that (Hoskin's) account was untrue," Drone wrote.

The anonymous email writer said the kidnapping and previous thefts in Vallejo were carried out by a group of three acquaintances, contrary to Muller's alleged statement in the interview that he worked alone.

Muller is a Pomona College and Harvard Law School graduate who worked as an immigration attorney in California before being disbarred this year for reasons that included failing to return an unearned $1,250 fee to a client and failing to cooperate in a State Bar investigation.

When he was arrested at his mother's South Lake Tahoe home on June 8, he told sheriff's deputies he had also served in the Marine Corps from 1995 to 1999 and that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2008.

He is being held in the county jail in Dublin because he is separately charged in Alameda County Superior Court with burglary, robbery and assault with a deadly weapon for his alleged attack on a Dublin homeowner on June 5.

A hearing was scheduled in that court Wednesday on defense attorney Thomas Johnson's motion to suppress all evidence stemming from the seizure of Muller's cell phone in the Dublin victims' home.

Assistant Alameda County District Attorney Teresa Drenick said the motion was put over today to another hearing on Sept. 16 for argument and decision.

The cell phone led to the seizure of evidence including alleged kidnapping equipment and a stolen car containing Muller's driver license at his mother's South Lake Tahoe home on June 8.

Johnson is seeking to have all the evidence suppressed on the grounds that sheriff's deputies didn't immediately obtain a search warrant for the phone. The deputies, who said it was an emergency situation, did obtain a warrant later on June 5, but not until after beginning to trace the phone to Muller.

Drone's FBI affidavit of Aug. 14 was filed to seek court approval for a separate federal warrant to search several more cell phones, laptops and hard drives seized in the South Lake Tahoe house as well as a hard drive found in Muller's 2007 red Mustang at Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

Court records show that a federal magistrate authorized the FBI to search the devices on Aug. 28.

The affidavit also says Muller is a suspect in the violent false imprisonment of a Palo Alto woman in 2009, an attempted sexual assault on a Mountain View woman in 2009 and an attempted sexual assault on a Palo Alto woman in 2012.

Muller was also reported by his then-wife as a missing person in November 2009 and sent his wife and other relatives an email stating, "I have problems beyond my mental health....I live in terror most of the time," according to the affidavit. Two days later, he called his wife from Utah and she picked him up there, Drone wrote.