Harvard-Educated Ex-Attorney Pleads Guilty to Vallejo Kidnapping Police Initially Called a Hoax

After a kidnapped Denise Huskins turned up in Huntington Beach in March 2015, police in Vallejo cast her disappearance as a hoax, saying it appeared to be part of an “orchestrated event.”

Denise Louise Huskins, -- originally from Huntington Beach -- was abducted from a male acquaintance's residence in the San Francisco area and is being held for ransom, police said Tuesday, March 24, 2015. (Credit: Vallejo Police Department)

Denise Louise Huskins, — originally from Huntington Beach — was abducted from a male acquaintance’s residence in the San Francisco area and is being held for ransom, police said Tuesday, March 24, 2015. (Credit: Vallejo Police Department)

On Thursday, a Harvard-educated attorney pleaded guilty to the kidnapping, closing a chapter in a bizarre case that turned its harsh glare first on the victim and then on the Northern California police department.

Matthew Muller, 39, of South Lake Tahoe previously pleaded not guilty to a kidnapping charge for the March 23, 2015, incident. He abducted Denise Huskins for two days and demanded a $15,000 ransom for her, prosecutors said. Muller faces up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to acting U.S. Atty. Phillip A. Talbert.

“Muller committed a serious and violent crime that terrorized the victims in this case,” Talbert said in a statement. “He violated the sanctity of their home and caused fear and panic for all those affected by the kidnapping.”

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