SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU-AP) — The lawyers for a couple in a kidnap-for-ransom case that police called a hoax on Monday blasted Vallejo police investigators and asked that authorities set the record straight.
Attorney Daniel Russo says Vallejo Police detectives rushed to judgment. He said Monday he and lawyer Douglas Rappaport want the public perception of their clients changed.
Aaron Quinn and a teary-eyed Denise Huskins appeared with their lawyers at a news conference in Vallejo, but they didn't talk to the media. A teary-eyed Huskins and Quinn held hands tightly during the brief conference and hugged before leaving.
Huskins' lawyer, Douglas Rappaport, said his client will avoid commenting on the case to preserve the integrity of the prosecution.
Rappaport and Quinn's lawyer, Daniel Russo, blasted investigators and asked that authorities set the record straight.
"What I want is for the Vallejo PD to do their job," Russo said. "Go out, find out if there are other guys out there and make sure that next time this happens they think before they talk."
After Huskins reappeared, Vallejo police said at a news conference the kidnapping was a hoax. Police have since declined to comment other than to say they continue to investigate.
Neither attorney would comment on wither they would seek civil damages against Vallejo police, saying they were both criminal defense lawyers and would not be involved in a civil case.
When asked about selling their story, their attorneys said the two physical therapists just want to restore their reputations and get on with their lives.
A call to Vallejo police was not immediately returned Monday.
Earlier Monday, an arrest warrant was issued for 38-year-old Orangevale resident Matthew Muller in the March kidnapping of Huskins, according to the FBI.
Authorities said Muller was being held in connection with kidnapping of Huskins from a Vallejo home in the early hours of March 23rd and a June 5th home invasion robbery in Dublin.
Dublin investigators were also to zero in on Muller because he allegedly left his cell phone behind after he struggled with the home owner during the home invasion. He was then linked to the Vallejo abduction by a laptop stolen during the kidnapping was discovered inside a Lake Tahoe residence where Muller was staying and his car's GPS indicated that he had been to Utica St. in Huntington Beach.
That was the location where Huskins was released after her abduction.
Muller was booked into custody for attempted robbery, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, and assault with great bodily injury in connection with the Dublin home invasion.
The announcement was the latest twist in a bizarre Vallejo case where investigators said the Huskins and her boyfriend, Aaron Quinn, had faked the kidnapping and owed the police an apology.
At the time, Vallejo police Lt. Kenny Park said ”Mr. Quinn and Ms. Huskins owe this community an apology."
But on Monday, the FBI said in prepared statement that information obtained during the course of the ongoing investigation of both crimes indicates Muller may have committed similar crimes elsewhere.
According to the federal affidavit, Quinn -- identified only as the male victim in the affidavit – “was awakened by a bright light shining in his eyes, a noise that was similar to a stun gun and the voice of man who demanded that both victims lie face down on the bed. “
Muller then allegedly ordered Huskins to bind Quinn with zip ties and told both to enter the bedroom closet.
Investigators then said Muller covered the male victim's (Quinn’s) eyes with swim goggles with tape-covered lenses to restrict vision and, once the victim was in the closet, placed a pair of headphones over the male victim's ears.
The headphones were used to play a prerecorded message that provided instructions, indicated that the break in was being performed by a professional group on site to collect financial debts, and threatened that both victims would be hurt by electric shock or by cutting their faces if either of the two victims did not comply, the affidavit said.
Quinn was then placed on the couch, told he was being watched on camera and to not try to free himself.
According to the affidavit, Quinn fell asleep on the couch for a period of time and, upon awakening later the same day, he freed himself.
“He was able to locate cell phones belonging to both he and the female victim. His phone contained a voicemail message with a financial demand and instructions to tell those who inquired about his transactions to say the funds were for purchase of a ski boat,” the affidavit read.
Quinn called the local police to report that his residence had been broken into and his girlfriend adducted.
The FBI investigation also revealed that Muller was involved in an early morning home invasion in Dublin on June 5.
On June 8, Alameda County Sheriff's Office detectives conducted a search of a South Lake Tahoe. residence associated with Muller.
Upon entry, they located Muller and placed him under arrest.
On June 25, the FBI met with Dublin investigators and determined that there were similarities with the June 5th case, and elements of the Vallejo kidnapping.
Individuals who believe they are a victim of a similar crime and law enforcement agencies aware of similar crimes are urged to contact agents with the Sacramento Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).
Attorney Thomas Johnson said in a brief news release that he is representing Muller and that his client will plead not guilty in the March kidnapping.
"We are going to look at his mental history and his mental illness and we're going to see how that impacted his life in the past several years," said Johnson.
Muller is awaiting indictment.