(VALLEJO, Calif.) — The female victim in the “Gone Girl” kidnapping case in California was not the intended target, according to someone claiming to be among the perpetrators who said it was a case of mistaken identity.
An email sent to a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle by someone alleging to be one of the captors in the case, and publicly released Monday as part of the now-unsealed arrest warrant issued by the FBI calling for the arrest of Matthew Muller, claimed to “speak for the group that kidnapped” the woman.
She has publicly identified herself as Denise Huskins, identified as Victim F throughout the arrest warrant. Muller has been charged in connection to the case.
“We have no prior link to Ms. Victim F and did not know who she was until the night of the operation. We believed the woman there was …”, then naming a different woman, whose connection to the group was not explained in the email, which was sent on March 26, 2015.
The email also details the group’s alleged car theft activities, and praises the female victim of the alleged March 23 kidnapping.
“In what I suppose would be a case of reverse Stockholm syndrome, we (and particularly the one in charge of holding her during the operation) were very impressed with the strength she showed and who she was as we passed the time talking to her,” the email reads.
Vallejo, California, police had dismissed Huskins and her boyfriend’s claims of being the victims of a kidnapping, and the email appeared to be the suspects’ attempt to vouch for the couple and set the record straight.
“Ms. Victim F was absolutely kidnapped. We did it. We will provide incontrovertible proof of that,” the author wrote.
But Vallejo Police Chief John Whitney stands by the department’s assessment, based on the evidence they had at the time. He told ABC News that he does not believe police dropped the ball, and that they will re-evaluate the situation after the investigation is complete.
As for the “we” mentioned in the email, the author included certain details about the group, claiming to be the ones responsible for the kidnapping.
“We are a group of what I suppose you would call professional thieves, though we have not been doing it that long and don’t identify ourselves as such. We are more than 2 and fewer than 8 in number. All but one of us hold at least bachelor degrees, including from your alma mater,” the person wrote in the email directed to reporter Henry Lee, who attended the University of California-Berkeley.
Muller, the only suspect named by the FBI who has been arrested in connection to the kidnapping, attended Harvard Law School.
Muller’s attorney Thomas Johnson has not directly commented on his client’s guilt or innocence but says neither he nor his client has admitted to any crime. He also said Muller suffers from bipolar disorder and has a history of mental illness.
The author wrote about feeling the group’s alleged criminal activity was “like a game or movie adventure” and that they “fancied ourselves a sort of Ocean’s Eleven, gentlemen criminals who only took stuff that was insured from people who could afford it.”
“At some point we decided that although a [sic] auto theft payout was decent, we did not want to do that for our whole lives. Instead we wanted something with a high pay out that we only had to do once or a few times. We settled on K&R [kidnapping and ransom],” the author wrote.
From there, the author said they believed they were attacking someone that at least one of them knew in a home with which they were familiar, though they did not disclose the way in which they knew the alleged intended target.
“The [redacted] operation was meant to be a test of methods that would be used later on a higher net worth target, in an environment that was familiar to us and somewhat controlled. There was also a link to someone we thought was resident there but turned out not to be,” the email reads.
“The operation went terribly wrong. After making the jump from property crime to this, we feel deep remorse and horribly regret our slide into criminality. In particular, we are mortified of the impact it has had on Victim F.
“The bottom line, inconceivable as it sounds given what we have done, is that we didn’t really want to hurt anyone,” the email states.
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