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California Couple in 'Gone Girl' Kidnapping Files Claim Against City

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Mike Jory/Vallejo Times-Herald/AP

Attorneys for the woman whose kidnapping was originally declared a hoax by the Vallejo, California, police, filed a claim for damages, a possible precursor to a lawsuit, against the city of Vallejo, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.

In March, Aaron Quinn called Vallejo police saying that his girlfriend, Denise Huskins, had been kidnapped and that the kidnappers had demanded $8,500 in ransom. But after Huskins reappeared two days later in her hometown of Huntington Beach hours before the ransom was due, Vallejo police, believing she and her boyfriend made up the story, called a press conference dismissing her abduction as a hoax.

The case became erroneously known as the “Gone Girl” kidnapping, referencing the popular book and 2014 movie about a phony kidnapping.

But two months later, cops arrested Matthew Muller, now 38, as a suspect in the case. Muller was also a suspect in a similar home invasion in Dublin, California. During a jailhouse interview with a CBS reporter in July, Muller admitted to being the lone perpetrator of the crime during a portion of the interview he believed was “off the record,” according to an August affidavit obtained by a CBS affiliate.

The couple’s claim against the city says that instead of helping Huskins and Quinn find the kidnapper, Vallejo police instead “destroyed their reputations through an outrageous, completely unprofessional, and wholly unfounded claim of disparagement.”

The episode, the claim says, “destroyed the lives of two innocent people.”

The claim says that when Quinn first reported the kidnapping, he was interrogated for 18 hours and accused of lying and killing Hutchins.

According to the claim, Quinn says the alleged kidnapper called him at least twice subsequently, but that cops “failed to monitor these lines of communication.”

Consequently, the claim states, cops “missed an opportunity to trace the phone to its South Lake Tahoe location. And while the officers were dithering, Denise was still in the hands of the kidnapper, who sexually assaulted yet again.”

Huskins, too, was initially dismissed by cops as well, the claim states. Instead, she allegedly was offered a “proffer of agreement” for immunity and told that Quinn was cooperating with cops, and that “whoever accepted first would get immunity.”

“Given that Denise had ‘inconveniently’ shown up alive, VPD maliciously transitioned [from its assumption that Quinn had killed Huskins] to the hoax story to avoid criticism for its initial and utterly false accusations of murder,” according to the claim.

Vallejo city spokesperson Joanna Altman tells PEOPLE, “We have not been served with a lawsuit, adding, “It sounds like there is a possibility of pending litigation so we cannot comment at this time.

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