The mysterious reported kidnapping for ransom took a new twist Wednesday night when authorities said the woman and her family who had made plans to talk to police had disappeared.
Denise Huskins, 29, was reportedly abducted Monday morning from a Vallejo home, police said. She was reported to be kidnapped by her boyfriend, Aaron Quinn, but was found safe Wednesday morning in Huntington Beach, her family and police told NBC4.
Now, police say, Huskins and Quinn have become the target of the investigation as police probe whether they did anything illegal in their report of a random, violent abduction and a ransom request of $8,500.
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Huskins and her family had made plans Wednesday afternoon to speak with authorities but have since disappeared, Vallejo police said.
Police said there was some indication that she would be cooperative and speak with investigators but when the FBI arranged a jet to bring her to Northern California for an interview, she was nowhere to be found.
Huskins has since retained an attorney and detectives do not know where she is, police said.
Since the investigation was launched on Monday, 40 detectives and over 100 personnel have been searching for and investigating Huskins' disappearance, which they said they didn't believe was a random act of violence.
"Today, there is no evidence to support the claims that this was a stranger abduction or an abduction at all," Vallejo police said in a press release. "Given the facts that have been presented thus far, this event appears to be an orchestrated event and not a kidnapping."
Lt. Kenny Park of the Vallejo Police Department told reporters at a press conference Wednesday night that police are looking into possible state and federal charges in the case. Park also said Huskins and her boyfriend sent police on a "wild goose chase."
"The fact that we've wasted all these resources is really upsetting," Park said, adding that "Mr. Quinn and Ms. Huskins owe this community an apology."
At an earlier news conference, Park said his department received a phone call from Huntington Beach police at 10:30 a.m. reporting Huskins had been found safe. Prior to the conference, Mike Huskins said his daughter, Denise, is safe in Huntington Beach. He didn't provide any other details.
Huskins' boyfriend claims an intruder broke into his Mare Island home early Monday morning and took Huskins by force while demanding a ransom. But for some reason, her boyfriend waited 11 hours to report it to police. Park said the alleged ransom for Huskins was $8,500.
How Huskins got to Huntington Beach was not made clear in Wednesday's press conference.
Huskins' uncle, Jeff Kane, said Wednesday morning he was relieved to hear his niece was safe. "Now we know where she is, that’s the most important thing, obviously, but now curiosity is kicking in, and we go, ‘what happened here, why her,’” he said.
“It all seems curious to me," Kane added. "it seems diabolical, it seems criminal, but it also seems orthodox in the crime world.”
Kanes said Huskins' dad had answered a call from an unknown number which turned out to be his daughter. "She said 'Daddy, I am safe, they let me go and I am walking to your house'," Kane said.
Since Huskins' father was in Vallejo at the time, she went to a neighbor's house. Family in Southern California broke into tears when they heard Huskins was back.
"Excitement, overwhelmed ... I didn't know anything that was going to happen. You hear these stories all the time and you watch TV about them and you never know," cousin Natalia Kane said. "I just was happy to hear that she was alive and safe, and home."
Huskins is from Huntington Beach, and according to her Facebook page moved to Vallejo in June 2014. She is a physical therapist at Kaiser Permanente.
On Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle was sent an email with an audio file of a woman claiming to be Denise Huskins, who said in a brief call, “I’m kidnapped, otherwise I’m fine.”
In the short clip, she identifies herself, talks about the French Alps plane crash to establish the date and references a personal detail about herself about the first concert she saw. Her voice is calm and the clip lasts less than 10 seconds. It’s unclear who made the clip, or who emailed it to the Chronicle.
Lisa Fernandez and Bay City News contributed to this report