American Nightmare Netflix

What Netflix doesn’t tell you in the American Nightmare documentary

There’s plenty more to the story than we were shown


This month Netflix released a new true-crime docuseries. Spanning 3 episodes and produced by the team behind the Tinder Swindler, the series is taking the avid watchers of true crime by storm. At its heart, it is a tale of horrifying institutional inadequacy and sexism. And if like many of us who watched the series you have questions about certain aspects of this case that Netflix skirts around, keep reading.

Based on the chilling abduction and kidnapping story of Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn, this new series dramatises the traumatic incident which started on March 23, 2015. In their home in Vallejo, California, Huskins and Quinn were threatened with a gun, tied up, blindfolded , drugged, and Huskins was taken for ransom by their assailant. The following day, Quinn managed to free himself and called the authorities to report the kidnapping, but rather than believing his account, investigators pinned Quinn as the prime suspect in his girlfriend’s disappearance and assumed murder.

So, what actually happened after Denise was kidnapped from Aaron’s home?

Denise Huskins and Aaron Quinn, American Nightmare

Credit: Netflix

In the 48h after Quinn went to the authorities, he went from being suspect number one, to being framed by the authorities as the sole perpetrator. It was being suggested Quinn had pulled a Gone Girl – staging the kidnapping in cahoots with his wife, Denise. Episode 1 of American Nightmare includes the CCTV footage of his interrogation in which Detective Mathew Mustard outright accuses Quinn of Huskins’ kidnapping before going on to accuse him of her murder and disposal of the body – all utter conjecture.

Huskins, was thrown in the trunk of her boyfriend’s car and driven 400 miles away to Huntington Beach, California. While Quinn was in custody, the kidnappers attempted to contact him to set up a ransom by phone and email, but police had him put his phone on airplane mode, leaving him uncontactable. Two days later, on March 25, Huskins was released by her kidnapper near her parents’ house and reported to investigators that she was raped twice, drugged, and blinded. Truly traumatic events that you’d expect to be taken seriously.

And what else happened in the American Nightmare case which we don’t see in the documentary?

There was severe social media backlash following controversial comments made by the men investigating the case 

Aaron Quinn and Denise Huskins in ‘American Nightmare’.

Credit: Netflix

There was severe social media backlash following controversial comments made by the men investigating the case 

Aaron Quinn and Denise Huskins in ‘American Nightmare’.

Credit: Netflix

The Independent also notes that the Vallejo police chief, Andrew Bidou, is alleged to have made this disgusting remark to his colleagues prior to the press conference told them to “burn that b****”. In the years following the case, the social media backlash against the Vallejo Police Department has (understandably) been massive – something Netflix leaves out of the narrative.

It was only after Huskins and Quinn had been demonised and dragged in the press that the kidnapper came forward, contacting the press via email to corroborate their version of events.

Questions still remain over whether Matthew Muller was acting alone or as part of a crime gang 

Matthew Muller in ‘American Nightmare’.

Credit: Netflix

Despite no one else being arrested in connection to the break-in, Huskins and Quinn still firmly believe there may have been someone else involved and Huskins noticed two pairs of legs in the room during the incident. In documents released by the US Department of Justice Matthew Muller claimed that he had acted with a group when he broke into Denise and Aaron’s house in 2015.

Screen Rant refers to a set emails sent to journalists of the San Francisco Chronicle claimed that the perpetrator had acted with a group – something the series touches on briefly but does not explore fully, despite Huskins testifying that she noticed two pairs of legs in the room during the incident.

Denise has had reoccurring nightmares about her kidnap in the years following the incident 

American Nightmare

Credit: Netflix

Netflix touches on Huskin’s testimonies briefly, but fails to mention that Denise also disclosed having vivid nightmares re-living what happened and fearing for her life, as well as having to pretend that Muller was Aaron to get through her ordeal, according to Screen Rant.

Muller represented himself in court and received further charges in 2022 for similar crimes 

Matthew Muller Parents: Father Monty & Mother Joyce Muller

Credit: Netflix

American Nightmare also fails to tell us that Muller fired his attorney and represented himself in court against Denise’s testimony – which may have been traumatic for Huskins, faced with the man who committed these atrocities against her. However, she does specify in the Netflix documentary she was glad she was able to face him.

As the Netflix series shows, Muller is serving a 40-year prison sentence and was seemingly involved in other home invasion cases in California near Lake Tahoe. And in 2022, Muller was also sentenced to a further 31 years in jail on further charges of rape and kidnapping.

Following the blatant ineptitudes showcased by Detective Mustard, he then recieved a promotion

American Nightmare: What happened to Detective Mat Mustard? - Dexerto

Credit: Netflix

A horrifying ordeal compounded by misogynistic, incompetent police, the Netflix series sees Huskins and Quinn give endless interviews recounting Huskins’ kidnap. They even published a book about the treatment they received – Victim F: From Crime Victims to Suspects to Survivors.

Yet, despite being blasted on social media for his words and actions throughout the case, lead detective Mat Mustard is still employed with the Vallejo Police Department, has never received a reprimand or demotion and was in fact been promoted to Detective Sergeant in 2018, according to Screen Rant.

The Vallejo Police Department has been through several police chiefs since the American Nightmare in 2015

What American Nightmare hero Misty Carausu is up to now

Credit: Netflix

After the shameful performance by Vallejo’s police department, they have subsequently had numerous changes in leadership. Andrew Bidou, the chief involved with the case, retired in 2019 after facing mounting criticism about police misconduct – despite the city claiming he wasn’t being forced to retire his post because of the accusations. Additionally, Bidou was also accused of re-writing the written sergeant’s exam to lower the standards so Detective Mustard could get the promotion he wanted.

In 2019, Shawny Williams took over as Police Chief of the City of Vallejo and issued a statement on ABC7 News apologising publicly for the treatment of Huskins and Quinn. Williams stated that he wanted to make “sure survivors are given compassionate service with dignity and respectbut then resigned his position in 2022 after a spate of scandals, as well as a no-confidence vote from the police union, according to the  Vallejo Sun.

American Nightmare is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• This is where Matthew Muller from American Nightmare on Netflix is now

 Here’s what the hero of Netflix’s American Nightmare Misty Carausu is up to now