Victim F: From Crime Victims to Suspects to Survivors by Denise Huskins, Aaron Quinn, Nicole Weisensee Egan
What the shit did I just read? This was bonkers to the highest level, and the horrific part is that this book isn’t fiction. This insane, straight-out-of-a-movie sequence of events happened to a real couple. I remember hearing this story on the news when it first broke, and it all seemed so odd. Then reports switched to the “Gone Girl” victim who “faked it.” And then nothing. The news never circled back around when they were found to be innocent; the sensationalism had passed and none of the media outlets cared enough to report on the injustice. This is truly the stuff of nightmares.
In 2015, Denise Huskins and her boyfriend, Aaron Quinn, are terrorized in the middle of the night by armed men in wet suits flashing red laser beams. They’re bound, drugged, separated, and forced to listen to bizarre audio messages with instructions and threats. Denise is thrown in the trunk of a car and Aaron is ordered to stay in the home with a warning not to call police or Denise would be killed. The intruders tape off a boundary on the first floor for Aaron and inform him of the surveillance cameras that will be monitoring his every move. Aaron eventually contacts police due to his concern for Denise, but when they show up to rescue Aaron, he’s immediately treated as the suspect. Not only do they think he killed Denise, but later when Denise is released, they label her as the “real-life ‘Gone Girl’” who faked her own kidnapping despite mounds of evidence proving both Denise and Aaron were innocent victims. Denise was never given proper victim’s assistance as a sexual assault survivor. They lost their jobs. Some of their friends and family didn’t believe them. Social and news media were exceedingly cruel. The police department and investigators re-victimized this couple over and over again by refusing to follow evidence or admitting missteps. I can’t even begin to imagine surviving an ordeal as heinous as this and then finding that the justice system designed to protect its victims has failed so miserably. Aaron and Denise explain the myriad of ways this tragedy impacted their lives, their health, and their relationships. They read off social media messages they’ve received from random people spewing vile hatred and abuse. Despite the trauma, they find a way to cling to each other and develop as a couple instead of tearing each other apart. Their love story is heartening. I still can’t wrap my brain around this; it’s enraging, and probably one of my top five heartbreaking true crime reads.
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