Denise Huskins' lawyer says Vallejo abduction was no hoax

Attorney for boyfriend of allegedly kidnapped woman denies incident was a hoax

Authorities have located a Vallejo woman who disappeared after police said her account of a kidnapping was a hoax, an official said Thursday.

The FBI is assisting Vallejo police and “they know where the individual is” but have declined to reveal the exact location of Denise Huskins, 29, said Gina Swankie, an FBI spokeswoman in Sacramento.

FBI officials in Los Angeles confirmed Huskins was not in Southern California.

Douglas L. Rappaport, an attorney for Denise Huskins, told the Los Angeles Times that his client truly was kidnapped.

"She was abducted," Rappaport said. "She is a victim, and she is a woman who has been the victim of a violent crime and to a certain degree is being re-victimized."

Huskins is now being victimized by police, Rappaport said. "Hopefully this will come to an end for her," he added. 

The counselor said he could not comment further about the case.

Vallejo detectives are still investigating Huskins’ case, she said.

Attorneys for Huskins’ boyfriend, Aaron Quinn, also denied the incident was a hoax. Attorney Dan Russo said Quinn was bound and forced to take drugs by Huskins' kidnappers.

“There seems to be a stream of blatant lies about our client, about the victim and about what is going on,” Russo said in a news conference at his Vallejo office.

Quinn, he said, has fully cooperated with Vallejo police and provided blood samples to prove he was drugged. He gave them his passwords to his email accounts and was interrogated for 17 hours by FBI and police.

“He basically has died and gone to hell; he is in terrible shape,” Russo said.

After all of that, Russo said, police have never given them any evidence to indicate the kidnapping and ransom were a hoax.

“We have nothing to show they believe he is a liar and why they believe this is a hoax,” said Amy Morton, another attorney for Quinn.

Quinn’s lawyers told police their client would agree to call Huskins in their presence, but that was never done.

“He wanted to have an opportunity to hear his girlfriend's voice,” Morton said.

Huskins was reported kidnapped from her boyfriend’s home early Monday for an $8,500 ransom. But she surfaced Wednesday, 420 miles south in Huntington Beach, police said.

Huskins and Quinn worked for Kaiser Permanente, which said Thursday that officials are working with authorities. They declined to provide information about them because of the active police investigation.

Just hours after Huskins turned up, police said they began having doubts about her kidnapping story.

Quinn told police Monday that Huskins had been “forcibly taken against her will” from his home, and the ransom demand had been communicated to him.

His attorney said the abduction occurred between 3 and 5 a.m., but he did not report it until noon because he feared for her safety. His attorneys said ransom demands were made only to him.

Authorities did not see the ransom messages because Quinn's cellphone was on airplane mode, the attorneys said. It wasn’t until they took it off airplane mode they found messages, emails, missed calls and hang ups from throughout the U.S.

But things just didn’t add up, police said.

"The story that Mr. Quinn provided was such an incredible story, we initially had a hard time believing it and upon further investigation we were not able to substantiate any of the things he was saying,” said Lt. Kenny Park of the Vallejo Police Department.

Quinn's attorneys said police shouldn’t have any reasons not to believe him because he is telling the truth. They said Quinn doesn’t know why Huskins' alleged kidnappers would go after him for money because he’s not wealthy, but he did own a home and has a decent job.

Quinn’s claims sparked an intense search for Huskins that involved the FBI. Crews searched nearby neighborhoods and collected evidence in hopes of finding out more about her disappearance.

Then on Wednesday, Huskins’ father told police he received a voicemail from her saying she had been dropped off at her mother’s home, her cousin Amy Mattison said.

The San Francisco Chronicle also received an email with an audio recording of a woman identifying herself as Denise Huskins, who said she had been abducted.

Soon after she was found, Huntington Beach police said Huskins was in “good condition.”

An FBI agent assigned to ensure Huskins was returned safely to Vallejo went to an Orange County home where they were told Huskins would be Wednesday, but she was not there, according to law enforcement sources familiar with the events.

The FBI arranged for a plane to fly Huskins to Northern California for an interview, but she never got on the flight, police said.

Huskins, however, can only be detained or tracked if a warrant is sought for her arrest.

Park said the entire episode was an “orchestrated event.”

Police don’t know why the hoax was perpetrated, but the FBI is searching financial records for clues.

“This was not a random act and ... the members of our community are safe and ... have nothing to fear,” Park said.

Investigators spent a lot of time investigating a crime they believed was real, he said.

“The fact that we essentially wasted all of these resources for really nothing is upsetting,” Park said.

Police said Huskins has retained an attorney, and Quinn is no longer talking to police.

The couple could face charges.

Calling police claims “absolute crap,” Denise Huskins’ uncle Jeff Kane told KNBC-TV that maybe “she's seen enough of Vallejo.”

Staff writer Ryan Parker contributed to this report. 

For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA and @LAcrimes

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

9:28 p.m.: This story has been updated with comments from Denise Huskins' lawyer.

2:07 p.m.: This post has been updated with details and comments from attorneys and the FBI.

12:33 p.m.: This story has been updated with attorney denying the incident was a hoax.

This story was first published at 11:58 a.m.

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