The abduction and subsequent ransom demand for a 29-year-old woman in Vallejo was a hoax, police said Wednesday night.
Denise Huskins was reportedly kidnapped from her boyfriend’s home, held for a $8,500 ransom and found safe Wednesday, 420 miles south in Huntington Beach, police said.
“Today, there is no evidence to support the claims that this was a stranger abduction or an abduction at all," authorities said in a statement Wednesday night. “Given the facts that have been presented thus far, this event appears to be an orchestrated event and not a crime.”
Lt. Kenny Park, spokesman for Vallejo police, called the situation a "wild goose chase" that wasted a lot of time, scared the community and took focus away from real victims who needed police.
About 40 detectives from various agencies and 100 support personnel "worked around the clock" to locate Huskins, Park said. "It's disappointing. It's disheartening," he added.
The motive for the hoax remains unclear, police said. The FBI is searching financial records, Park said.
Initially, police believed Huskins was going to cooperate with their investigation, including giving a full detailed statement, Park said. Police and the FBI arranged a jet to bring her to Northern California for an interview, police said. She never showed.
Police have been unable to locate or contact Huskins or her family members, Park said.
Huskins has retained an attorney but police have yet to speak to the lawyer, Park said. He declined to speculate why an attorney was hired.
Park said he felt the perpetrators of the hoax owed an apology to the city, even though no one has yet to admit the incident was a hoax to police.
From the start, there were holes in the story given to police about the abduction, Park said.
Huskins' boyfriend, Aaron Quinn, told police that Huskins was kidnapped early Monday and a ransom demand was communicated during the abduction, authorities said.
"We initially had a hard time believing it," Park said of Quinn's tale. He declined to elaborate on Quinn's story because an investigation into the hoax is ongoing.
Quinn, 30, told police he saw her “forcibly taken against her will” from his home, Vallejo police said. A car registered in Quinn's name also was taken from the home and later found elsewhere in the city.
Quinn, like Huskins and her family, is no longer cooperating with police, Park said. No one is considered a fugitive at the moment, he added. Charges may be brought by the district attorney once police conclude their investigation.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.