The Real Story Behind Denise Huskins’ ‘Nightmare’ Ordeal

Sometimes real life truly is stranger than fiction — and Denise Huskins’ “American Nightmare” is a perfect case of that maxim. The ordeal she and Aaron Quinn were put through, as well as its aftermath, had more twists and turns than the most far-fetched Hollywood thriller. In fact, their case was compared to the plot of Gone Girl! In reality, though, the real world isn’t fiction, and there was a lot more to their harrowing experience than the authorities and media initially wanted people to believe.

A midnight visitor

In the middle of the night on March 23, 2015, Denise and Aaron were awoken in their beds by a disorienting sight. A bright beam of light was shining in their faces, and their confusion quickly turned to terror.

Their blood must have run cold when they heard a voice in their bedroom say, “Wake up, this is a robbery.” Denise later told ABC News, “I remember being asleep and hearing a voice and thinking it was a dream. But the voice kept talking…”

This is not a dream

Denise continued, “I just remember my eyes shot open and I could see the walls illuminated with a white light that was flashing, and I could see a couple of red laser dots crossing the wall…” At that point, the voice assured the couple, “We’re not here to hurt you.”

Denise admitted, “In that moment, I just thought, ‘Oh my God. This is not a dream.’” The couple then focused in on the word “we” — they couldn’t be sure, but Denise thought she saw two pairs of legs in the room.

A pre-planned home invasion

Ascertaining exactly how many intruders were in their bedroom then became impossible when the couple was zip-tied and bundled into their closet. While inside, blacked-out swimming goggles were affixed over their eyes, and the intruder — or intruders — played a pre-recorded message.

It claimed the group were part of an organization of kidnappers who collected debts. In the message, Aaron was mentioned by name, and he later told ABC News that this gave him the sinking feeling, “We’re in a lot of trouble and this is planned.”

Was the whole thing a mistake?

At that point, though, a curveball was thrown into the harrowing situation. The kidnapper said, “We have a problem,” and then asked, “Do Denise and your ex-fiancée look-alike?” Now there could be no doubt that the intruders knew exactly who the couple were.

However, it also meant the whole thing was likely a case of mistaken identity. Aaron explained, “Yes, they both have long, blonde hair,” and the kidnapper said, “We got the wrong intel.”