Image Credit: Netflix
Denise Huskins’ kidnapping case is at the center of the riveting Netflix docuseries American Nightmare, which premiered on January 17. Initially, police and the media believed Denise and her boyfriend Aaron Quinn came up with an elaborate hoax about the kidnapping. However, it was later revealed that they had been telling the truth the whole time, and Matthew Muller was responsible for what happened to them.
Following the 3-episode docuseries, you probably have a lot of questions about Matthew Muller. From his background to his involvement in Denise’s case, Hollywood Life is answering all of your burning questions about the criminal.
Who Is Matthew Muller?
Matthew Muller is a criminal who was convicted of kidnapping and raping Denise Huskins in 2015. Matthew is a former Marine who joined right out of high school. He went on to attend Pomona College in California and earned a law degree at Harvard Law School. He had been working as an immigration lawyer, but he was disbarred in 2013 for lying to a client and fraudulently charging a client.
What Did Matthew Muller Do?
Matthew broke into Denise and Aaron Quinn’s home on the night of March 22, 2015. He bound the couple, covered their eyes with blacked-out swim goggles, and drugged them. He took Denise and drove her to his mother’s cabin in South Lake Tahoe. He kept Denise in a room and raped her twice.
Matthew told her that the kidnapping was intended for Aaron’s ex Andrea. Matthew recorded the rapes and threatened to release them on the internet if she talked to the police. He also claimed to have “associates” who were involved in the kidnapping.
After showing Denise a video of her dad speaking to the media, Matthew told Denise it was “time to go home.” He drugged her and dropped her off in Huntington Beach, California. When she awoke, Matthew threatened her and her family. He stressed that she could not tell the police that he was in the military or that they had sex. “We will always be watching you,” he said before leaving her in Huntington Beach.
How Was Matthew Muller Caught?
Matthew wasn’t linked to Denise’s kidnapping until he was being investigated for another crime. In June 2015, months after Denise’s kidnapping, Matthew broke into a home in Dublin, California. The owner of the house got into a fight with Matthew during the burglary. Matthew was attempting to rape the homeowner’s daughter.
Matthew left his phone behind when he got spooked. Police tracked down the subscriber of the phone to Matthew’s mom, who revealed that the phone belonged to her son. She told police that Matthew was staying at her cabin in South Lake Tahoe. Police arrested Matthew at the cabin in connection to the burglary in Dublin.
Sgt. Misty Carausu was on the scene for the Dublin PD and found a crucial piece of evidence: a pair of blacked-out swim goggles with a single strand of blonde hair. As Sgt. Carausu continued to investigate Matthew, she was able to link him to Denise’s kidnapping. This came at a crucial time when Denise and Aaron were accused by police of making the entire story up.
Denise Huskins in ‘American Nightmare.’ (Netflix)
In the docuseries, Denise and Aaron read through the affidavit about the case. Aaron had stressed to Vallejo police that the kidnappers were going to contact him about demands. Police didn’t listen to Aaron and put his phone on airplane mode. Matthew called Aaron’s phone twice while Denise was held captive. Those phone calls were traceable to South Lake Tahoe.
During the trial, it was revealed that Matthew had used a “remote-controlled drone” to spy on Denise and Aaron before the home invasion and kidnapping, CBS News reported. He also played a pre-recorded message that made it appear as if there was more than one kidnapper when he acted alone.
Where Is Matthew Muller Today?
When he was arrested, Matthew told detectives that he was bipolar and suffered from Gulf War illness, even though he never served in the Gulf War. In March 2017, he pleaded guilty to a federal kidnapping charge and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Matthew and Denise came face-to-face for the first time during the trial.
“There’s nothing I can say,” he said in court, according to SFGATE. “I’m sick with shame that my actions have brought such devastation. I hope my imprisonment can bring closure to Aaron and Denise and I’m prepared for any sentence the court imposes.”
Stage charges were then filed against Matthew in 2018 regarding Denise’s kidnapping and rapes. However, he wasn’t sentenced until 2022. During that period of time, Matthew was admitted to a state hospital until he was declared mentally competent. He pleaded no contest to two counts of forcible rape. He pleaded guilty to robbery of an inhabited dwelling, residential burglary, and false imprisonment. Matthew was sentenced to an additional 31 years in prison.
Matthew is currently serving his sentences at FCI Tucson in Tucson, Arizona, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. FCI Tucson is a medium security federal correctional institution with a detention center.