The first true crime ever released on Netflix In 2024 it will be an event. Kidnapping Nightmare in California (American Nightmare) dissects in just three episodes one of the most frightening cases offered by the genre in recent years because it confronts the viewer not only with the fear of becoming a victim of a crime but also with an institution that will protect them and seek justice.
The three-part series directed by Felicity Morris and Bernadette Higgins (The Tinder scammer) follows the case of Denise Huskinsa woman who was kidnapped and raped by her attacker, and who when recounting her nightmare after being released had to see how the police ignored her trauma and turned her into a villain, saying she was faking it all inspired by the film lost.
The events took place just one year after the premiere of the film starring Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck, and the media did not take long to create a narrative calling the case. “The real life ‘Lost'”. The strategy sold many headlines and also made Denise the most hated person in public opinion, as she retreated in fear because she knew her attacker was still at large.
The series reveals the consequences of general tendency to judge everyone by appearanceand the damage done by the authorities when from the beginning they did not trust the accusations and decided to confirm their own version based on prejudices, instead of investigating and pursuing the truth.
One of the representatives of that negligent authority that can be seen in the Netflix series from the first time is Matt Mustard Vallejo Police Department officer assigned to the Huskins case.
Mat Mustard during the interrogation of Denise Huskins (2015)
In the recording tapes of the interrogations, you can see how from the first time their only approach to the case was to condemn the victims as suspects, using intimidation tactics, and without spending any effort to open an investigation aimed at finding the possible culprit. Which, as shown a year later, could have been done following the signs from other events that recently happened in the area.
Where is Mat Mustard now?
As revealed in the last minutes of the series, Mustard was given the title of Officer of the Year 2015the year Denise Huskins was kidnapped.
Although the Dublin police, thanks to the dedication of the hero of the case, Detective Misty Carausuwas able to prove that Mustard’s ‘Gone Girl’ theory was wrong and that in 2018 Huskins and Quinn successfully sued the city of Vallejo for $2.5 million, since the lawsuit was civil and settled out of court, Mustard did not receive any type of disciplinary action through the police department.
According to the Vallejo Sun, Mustard was promoted to sergeant and was placed in charge of the VPD Investigations Division and Property and Evidence Unit in 2018, and this remains his current rank to this day.
Vallejo Police Office
Apart from this incident, Mustard has encountered many controversies since becoming a police officer. The Vallejo Sun reported in March 2023 that after the Huskins case, Mustard was accused of using racial slurs against a fellow black detective. Whistleblower and former Vallejo Police Captain John Whitney said that Andrew BidouVallejo police chief, “refused to investigate the incident.”
In a copy of the transcript obtained by the outlet, Whitney also alleged that Vallejo Police “promoting his most brutal agents instead of punishing them” and that he never investigated the misconduct of the officers involved in the Huskins kidnapping case.
Mustard used to be president of the Vallejo Police Officers Association from 2009 to 2019, where he worked, according to the Vallejo Sun, to “significantly” lower the examination standards for the position of Sergeant to facilitate access to himself.
In 2017, Detective Mat Mustard failed his sergeant’s written exam and is no longer considered for promotion. With the changes he introduced to the examination, which was approved by the former police chief Andrew Bidou, he was able to pass it. His current salary from that role is more than $100,000 per year, according to reports.