What happened to Denise Huskins, where is she now and is she still with Aaron Quinn? Netflix’s American Nightmare delves into their true story

Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn feature in Netflix's American Nightmare docuseries which examines the horrific ordeal they went through in 2015

Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn in Netflix's American Nightmare
(Image credit: Netflix)

"What happened to Denise Huskins?" was likely the first question that came to mind for many people watching Netflix’s American Nightmare.

The popularity of true crime series and documentaries shows no sign of lessening and Netflix’s latest offering, American Nightmare, delves into a particularly heart-wrenching and disturbing true story. In this case, the reality of what happened back in 2015 and the resulting investigation is just as harrowing as the three-part documentary would suggest. The focus of the docuseries is Denise Huskins who found herself suspected by police and the media of faking her own kidnap with the help of her boyfriend Aaron Quinn.

Warning: This article contains sensitive subject matters which some might find upsetting.

What happened to Denise Huskins? 

If you're wondering what happened to Denise Huskins, the horrifying events that are explored in American Nightmare took place back in March 2015. She was kidnapped by an intruder who broke into her and her partner Aaron Quinn’s home in the middle of the night. If that wasn’t terrifying enough, Denise and Aaron later recounted that the intruder was wearing a wetsuit, gave them sedatives and covered their eyes. The couple were told that Denise would be taken and returned 48 hours later when a ransom was paid. 

Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn stand in silence during a press conference on July 13, 2015

(Image credit: MediaNews Group/Vallejo Times Herald via Getty Images)

As per the BBC, when Aaron woke up he had received texts demanding money and Denise was nowhere to be found. Despite being warned not to, he involved the police but he soon found himself suspected of being involved in what happened to Denise Huskins. Then she was released two days later in Huntington Beach. She had been held hostage and sexually assaulted by her kidnapper and was appalled when the police ended up turning their suspicions on to her.

Meanwhile, the media began drawing comparisons to the Gillian Flynn novel, Gone Girl, the movie adaptation of which had came out just the year before. In Gone Girl a woman mysteriously goes missing after setting up her husband to be a suspect in her disappearance.

Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn appear at a news conference in 2016

(Image credit: San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images)

According to the BBC, on the day Denise was released, a spokesperson for the Vallejo police, Lt Kenny Park, allegedly told a press conference that the force believed Denise and Aaron had fabricated what had happened.

"Mr Quinn and Ms Huskins have plundered valuable resources away from our community and taken the focus away from the true victims of our community while instilling fear among our community members," he claimed. "So, if anything, it is Mr Quinn and Ms Huskins that owe this community an apology."

Despite the headlines and police’s investigative direction, Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn were later found to have been telling the truth all along.

Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn arrive for a news conference with attorney Doug Rappaport in San Francisco in 2016

(Image credit: San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images)

It’s understood that anonymous emails were being sent by kidnapper Matthew Muller - a former marine and disbarred attorney - supposedly claiming that the kidnap had been carried out by elite criminals. He was later arrested for a similar home invasion crime and investigators discovered evidence that linked him to Denise Huskins. 

In 2017, Muller was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison and in 2022 he was sentenced to 31 years in prison by Solano county superior court after pleading no contest to two counts of forcible rape. He is currently serving his sentences in prison in the US.

Did Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn receive compensation? 

After all they went through and how they found themselves accused of fabricating what happened, it’s likely a relief to anyone concerned after watching American Nightmare that Denise and Aaron received compensation. As reported by the BBC, Denise and Aaron are said to have won a $2.5million defamation settlement with the city of Vallejo in 2018 - three years after Denise was kidnapped by Muller.  

Denise Huskins in American Nightmare

(Image credit: Netflix)

The city apparently admitted to no wrongdoing in the settlement, and the couple’s lawyer apparently expressed their hope that the settlement would send a powerful and important message going forwards.

"One can only hope that the message of this settlement will be that victims are to be believed and that the police will accept a woman's highly credible report that she was kidnapped and raped," they declared.

Are Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn still together and where are they now? 

Denise Huskins appeared in Netflix’s American Nightmare docuseries which recounted what happened to her and how she found herself unfairly and incorrectly branded part of a real-life Gone Girl case. For those wondering whether Denise and Aaron are still together, the answer is yes, they are still a couple all these years later. 

They got married in September 2018 and later went on to release a book in 2019 entitled, Victim F: From Crime Victims to Suspects to Survivors. They have since welcomed two daughters together, with Aaron explaining in Netflix’s American Nightmare that they now feel their family is "complete".

Aaron Quinn in Netflix's American Nightmare

(Image credit: Netflix)

Victim F: From Crime Victims to Suspects to Survivors by Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn with Nicole Weisensee Egen | £8.99 at Amazon

Victim F: From Crime Victims to Suspects to Survivors by Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn with Nicole Weisensee Egen | £8.99 at Amazon

Released in 2021, this book sees Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn open up about what they went through in 2015. They shed light on how they found themselves accused and how law enforcement's approach affected them in the aftermath of their horrific ordeal.

"More than anything, I just hope that they grow up to be like their mom," he said. "And if they do that, they'll be ok."

The couple have also revealed to People that they remain unaware of why Muller targeted them specially.

"Like many victims, or many people who have gone through tragedy, you don't get all the answers. And that can be a sticking point to recovery. So for us, we don't rely on finding those answers, but what we have to do is move forward in the unknown and focus on things that matter the most to us, like our family, our kids, our work," Aaron explained.

Denise Huskins in Netflix's American Nightmare

(Image credit: Netflix)

He added, "Those are sustainable things. And having the answers of why they targeted us doesn't change what we do as far as moving forward."

Since watching American Nightmare many people who didn't remember reports from the time might have been left wondering what happened to Denise Huskins and now the docuseries has delved into the full horrors of what she and Aaron faced. Whilst they might never have all the answers, Denise and Aaron seem to have reached a place where they can accept this and that it "doesn't change" how they are moving forward together as a couple and a family. 

If you or someone you know finds themselves in need of support or someone to talk to in a safe space, you can reach out to Rape Crisis England & Wales by calling 0808 500 2222 for free or visiting their website.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!