Police decry fake kidnap as ‘wild goose chase’

A Vallejo police official Wednesday¬†evening said a man and woman involved in what appears to have been a faked kidnapping for ransom scheme owe residents an apology for sending police on a “wild goose chase.”

Police said this evening that an investigation into the alleged hoax continues but they condemned Denise Huskins, the supposed kidnapping victim, and her boyfriend, Aaron Quinn, for their part in it.

Vallejo police Lt. Kenny Park said at a news conference this evening:

“We have had over 40 police detectives at the local, state and federal levels, and over 100 support personnel assisting the investigation, working around the clock to help locate Ms. Hoskins. …¬†The fact that we’ve wasted all these resources is really upsetting.”

Park added:

“Mr. Quinn and Ms. Huskins owe this community an apology.”

Quinn contacted police on Monday around 2 p.m. to report that Huskins, 30, had been abducted by strangers from their home in the 500 block of Kirkland Avenue on Mare Island in the early morning hours that day, and that he had since received a ransom demand for $8,500.

The report triggered a massive search of Mare Island, but Park said police found the story “incredible” and “hard to believe” from the beginning. “We could not substantiate any of it,” Park said. However, police remained guarded in public statements because they needed to confirm Huskins was safe, Park said.

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle contacted police to report receiving an audio file by email claiming to be a recording of Huskins saying she was safe. Police asked the Chronicle to hold off on reporting about the message, Park said. At 10:30 a.m. today, Huntington Beach police contacted Vallejo police to report Huskins, a former Huntington Beach resident, had been found safe there.

Huntington Beach police said earlier today that Huskins had been moved to an undisclosed location with a family member. In her initial conversation with Huntington Beach police and in statements through relatives, Huskins appeared willing to cooperate with police, Park said.

However, after police and the FBI arranged a jet to fly her to Northern California, they were unable to locate her and have since been unable to contact Huskins or any of her family members, Park said. Police now understand Huskins has retained a lawyer.

Police said this evening that there was “no evidence” to support the claims of a stranger abduction. The extent of Huskins’ family members’ involvement in the alleged kidnapping hoax remains under investigation, as does the motive for the scheme, Park said.

While Quinn and Huskins remain at large for the moment, Park said police will refer the case for state or federal charges if sufficient information can be gathered.