Mare Island Kidnapping: Denise Huskins was not the intended target


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The suspect arrested in connection to the Mare Island kidnapping that was initially dismissed as a hoax, had emailed a reporter and the editors at the San Francisco Chronicle a lengthy letter trying to convince the newspaper that the woman was abducted, although she was not the one the kidnappers sought.

In the email, which was sent from an account named “Kidnappers,” the sender describes details of the kidnapping and offers links to images containing further evidence of the crime.

Mattew Muller, 38, of Orangevale, Calif., is suspected of snatching 29-year-old Denise Huskins from her Kirkland Avenue residence on Mare Island in Vallejo on March 23.

The over 9,000 words email says that though the kidnappers had previously entered the home and researched their victim ahead of the kidnapping, Huskins was not the intended target.

“At some point, that member of the team informed me that the person we had was Victim F and not [Victim M’s ex-fiance]. This threw a monkey wrench into our plans. Disagreement broke out among the three of us. I insisted that we should continue and carry out the operation, that it was a training mission anyhow, and that we needed the experience so that we could have successful missions later. So we continued,” the sender wrote.

According to the newspaper, the person wrote that Huskins was in good health and would be returned safely the next day.

“I showed her an article on her kidnapping, and it included a plea from her father and reflected how worried her family was. She began cryrng as she read, and I said something like “I know, seeing it in print must make it feel like this is really happening to you.” She said something to the effect of “no, it’s not that, it’s just that I can’t imagine how much
my family is suffering right now.”

The email included an audio file of a woman identifying herself as Huskins. Her father, Mike Huskins, confirmed it was her voice, the newspaper reported.


From: Kidnappers []
Sent: Saturday, March 28,2015 4:39 PM
To: Lee, Henry
Subject: Victim F kidnapping

“We kidnapped Victim F and held her for ransom, after breaking into the home of Victim M. The kidnapping was not a hoax, and neither is this statement by us, the perpetrators.

We are deeply ashamed and regretful of our unforgiveable conduct. Nothing can ever make up for what was done. Mr. victim M and especially Ms. victim F suffered a life-threatening ordeal painful beyond what most people can imagine.

We were therefore dismayed, further ashamed, and truly dumbfounded that when Mr. victim M and Ms. victim F sought help from the police, the police turned against the victims, accused them of fabrication, and told Mr. Victim M and Ms. Victim F they would be prosecuted and fined. It was also disturbing how many journalists cast the victims in a negative light. Reports never directly stated that Mr. Victim M and Ms. Victim F were attention-seeking whackos who made it all up. But they conveyed mostly the information that would lead readers and viewers to this conclusion. Like the police, certain joumalists crucified the victims long before there was enough information to do so.

We do not wish to distract from the fact that our unspeakable conduct is at the root of Mr. Victim M’s and Ms. Victim F’suffering. The details of the case are unusual, and include conflicting information and deliberate obfuscation. This was intended, in order to make the crime more likely to succeed and to cover our tracks in case it did not. Since the elaborate nature of the crime has led police to disbelieve it and prosecute the victims, we will now explain things from the beginning.

Why would we do this when the information could be used to catch us? We are human beings, albeit poor ones. we cannot stand to see two good people thrown under the bus by the police and medi4 when Ms. victim F and Mr. victim M should have received only support and sympathy. we are responsible for the victims’ suffering and the least we can do is come forward to prove they are not lying. over the course of the crime, we realized what we had become and developed deep remorse for the harm we inflicted. We are haunted by the grace and fortitude Ms. victim F displayed throughout her ordeal, and by her expressions of concern for her family and patients even while 3he was tied up in the dark wondering whether she would live until the next day.

The contrast with our own lack of humanity could not be more stark. If we were better, stronger people, we would furn ourselves in and face the consequences. We do not want to be caught, and I for my part will die before I go to prison. But we all agree that we cannot-allow the victims’suffering to be compounded. We would rather risk giving the police information that could lead them to catch us than live in a world where two fine people like Mr. Victim M and Ms. Victim F could suffer a horrible crime and then have their lives further ruined by the response to it.

Since the police have been so doubtful, we will describe the circumstances in detail and provide what corroboration we can. This is absolutely not meant to sensationalizethe crime. A11 attention should be on the victims, their ordeal, and their recovery. We wish it were not necessary to give this account. Many local residents will be distressed to learn what was going on around Mare Island and that we may even have been in their homes. But we appear to have no choice given that nobody will believe what the victims have told them.

During the period when Ms. Victim F was missing, we did communicate with the police via an intermediary. We provided them with “proof of life” and what we thought was credible information and evidence that Ms. Victim F had been kidnapped and was being held safely. They apparently did not believe it. We apologize to the people who needlessly spent time searching for Ms. Victim F and for the resources wasted in the search. But we did reach out with proof of the kidnapping and could not have guessed that it would be discounted.

We will now provide a ful1 account in hopes that it will not be dismissed. We stated earlier to a journalist that we would provide things like photos of the inside of people’s homes and other similar corroboration. We thought better of this considering the effect it would have on the residents and the further violation of their privacy. Nor will we publish images of Ms. Victim F while she was being held. Those that existed have been destoyed. We will instead make our account and description as detailed and complete as reasonably possible, so that the police will have a story sufficiently cohesive to believe. The police should be able to
individually corroborate cer|ain facts with island residents, without us publishing numerous photos to serve that purpose. We will also look into ways to transmit certain corroborating images to police and/or the victims’ attomeys with sufficient anonymity. We apologize for breaking offearlier dialogs concerning this matter. We discovered DNS leakage issues that even with multiple layers of anonymity could have revealed our location, and were simply too uneasy with being tracked to continue two-way talks. We are fairly sophisticated but have to accept there could be experts working this case who have techniques and technology beyond
anything we could guess.

We are three acquaintances, two of us college graduates, who followed a path we did not think would lead to such horrific crime. we began as occasional car thieves, progressed to an organized auto theft operation, diversified into burglary, and eventually settled on kidnapping-for-ransom as a means of making enough money to retire from criminality. The Mare Island kidnapping was a training mission to test means and methods that would be used on higher net worth targets. We essentially agree on everything that will follow. One of us has disappeared and is not responding to contacts, but agreed beforehand that we needed to come
forward with this even if we risked being caught. He was, in fact, the one who brought us around.

Two additional people were somewhat involved in the earlier parts relating only to theft. They had no part in the kidnapping plan. We did have contacts on Mare Island. They had no part in anything, knew nothing of what was going on, and like others in our lives would never have suspected what we were doing. Most importantly, before the kidnapping we had no contact with nor knowledge of victim F, and only indirect knowledge of victim M. There is simply no way they know anything about us. And they most certainly did not participate in planning a staged kidnapping. We think that idea should have been preposterous on its face given what information and evidence would have been available to someone investigating the crime. But it was an elaborate plan and probably unlike anything of which police had previously heard.

To protect innocent people we will not describe exactly how Mare Island became known to us or the circumstances of our first visits. At some point before starting up there, we had become involved in auto theft. we cannot say that we turned to a life of crime for lack of employment or other opportunities. we had jobs, not great ones and we were barely getting by given SF bay area prices. But we could have lived honest lives. There is no excuse.

It happened that one of us has a colorful family background. A relative who was involved in auto theft asked if we could do some things for him. We were all car enthusiasts, and he needed people with certain
electronics/programming/engineering skills. we knew it was not on the up and up, but could not resist the challenge and the money we were offered. so two of us proceeded.

The relative essentially taught us the ropes, the players, and the different models for profiting from auto theft. Besides working on cars, we ended up out in the field, acquiring them’ We learned how to use reach tools, drill out locks, break windows when needed, and a host of other things. It was exhilarating and such a contrast to the offrce doldrums. He’d treat us after a good take. It became a game, one in which nobody was hurt because we only stole higher end vehicles that certainly had theft coverage. The relative talked about having his own car stolen once, and how great it was to get the payout from the insurance company
because he could get something new and different if he wanted. We never did any car jacking. We didn’t even leave people stranded at the supermarket. Cars were taken almost exclusively from homes, in various better-off neighborhoods of northern california. Nobody.was getting harmed really, we figured. Maybe even the opposite.

Things progresqed from there quickly. one of us quit his job for unrelated reasons and had more time to spend on theft endeavors. We developed and built electronics allowing us to exploit quite a few makes and models’ keyless entry and start systems’ In order not to provide an instruction manual to other would-be thieves, we will not spell out the details of this. But as we understand it these methods are fairly common knowledge in the field, and the exploits are primarily a challenge of execution–of navigating the quirks of the different systems and vagaries of using the devices in the field.

There was a night when we were trying to get a read on a key from outside to relay a challenge/response, with a vehicle we knew our devices should work on. It was sometimes really painstaking and quirky, not to mention problems like the vehicle dying on you or refusing to restart or the alarm going off. As we kept walking the antenna around to get the signal right, one of us said something like “just go in and get the ft**ing key, they’re asleep upstairs, it’s right there on the counter.” That would also mean we didn’t have to spend the time to clone or reprogram keys. So that’s what we did. And from that point we realized it was easier to just get inside someone’s home and take a key. we had equipment that made finding RFIDs easy. Sometimes if we didn’t want to take the key and reveal we had been in the house, we cloned one on the spot, or swapped out key handles (even a vehicle forensicist couldn’t tell it was the wrong RFID in most cases, you’d need to know what was programed in the car’s ECU). we had vehicle diagnostic equipment (the operation was associated with a legitimate shop) that could progam new keys into the ECUs or do a factory key reset. some cars you could even do this on manually, though usually you needed both original keys for this.

Things were going well. Eventually the third of us joined back up. He brought in two other people, one with relevant prior experience and contacts. We were then in the midst of discussions about how we could capture a greater amount of the profit on stolen cars. The share of the rank and file thief was actually not that large, even when delivering a car with keys and a new vIN plate. It was further up the hierarchy that the real money was made. So we explored diflerent models. We looked into things like getting a dealer’s license, or a rebuilder’s license, so that we could purchase salvage cars, maybe part them out and use their VINs to resell stolen autos. We studied salvage laws in different states, to see if there were differences we could exploit to make vIN swapping cheaper and./or easier. We dabbled in the parts market and even sold quite a bit of stuffonline (through false identities).

But it was all actually hard work and a lot of risk for not all that much money. We figured that if we really wanted to profit, we needed a deal with someone who could get the cars to an overseas market, We knew the mechanics of how to do this and could make the car appear legitimate for international shipping. But there was no way we could manage the flrll network, smuggling, sales and so forth. It was just too ambitious for a small an inexperienced group.

So some introductions were made to us, and we were checked out. By then we had already discovered Mare Island and were making use of some abandoned buildings occassionally. The north part of the island was well patrolled, probably because it was adjacent to Vallejo, but the south was practicalty empty except for turkeys and coyotes. we set up a sort of home away from home and spent more time there, never seeing signs of anyone other than the caretaker and the very occasional jogger.

The area had amazing logistical possibilities. So we made some proposals, learned how some different things worked, what was possible and what was not. And eventually we reached agreement with an outside gxoup. we will not here, nor will we ever, disclose information about the group (and we know little), nor about the nature or timing of operations, nor anything that places that group in any sort of risk from authorities. our missing member absolutely is not cooperating with authorities and in any event knew the least. We will say that this pertained to cars only, nothing else was smuggled nor even proposed to be smuggled. We took straight payout for deliverables and had no stake nor knowledge of where they went.

As stated we smuggled cars onto Mare Island and processed them in its abandoned southem portion. There were various things that needed to happen before the cars were brought to a final staging point. We stole license plates in order to aid transport of stolen vehicles. We typically found a similar car to the one stolen (or to be stolen) and took its front license plate, then swapped in a front license plate from some other nearby car (ideally with the first letter/number the same) to reduce the possibility that the owner would discover the missing front plate and report it. In any event, it would give us enough time to transport the vehicle without getting putled over, even if the original vehicle was immediately reported stolen. We printed our own registration and month stickers and used the stolen plate as a back plate.

Before taking a car to the final staging are4 we would do some prep work at another location. There were quite a few of these and we did not concentrate too many cars in one area. At one point we were leaving the vehicles at these locations a while (with the new plates), so that if a car had LoJack there would be time for it to be activated and the car recovered. Obviously we did not want the cars recovered at one of our staging areas. Later we learned how to reliably check for LoJack installation. other initial work might have included removing anything distinctive about the car (bumper stickers or personalized plate covers), taking pictures, etc.

We sometimes frrlfilled requests for specific cars but in no way solicited those sales or interacted with endpoint buyers of any sort (individuals, criminal organizations, etc.) We searched out particular cars using craigslist and other online services, and a combination of social hacking and pinpointing locations using Google maps satellite and street views. As described below, we used internet connections of island residents for many of these activities, and usually with an additional anonymizing technique (anonymous proxy, ToR network, etc.) Just to offer a few corroborating anecdotes that do not put ow contacts at risk and
would be things known the the vallejo police: we generally did not take cars from the island (don’t sh*t where you eat, as our “mentor” put it). However, we did take two that we’d seen around the island. The first was a slightly custom SUV that was well-matched to an outstanding order. It was parked in front of its owner’s house and we located a proximity key in the garage. We did not want to drive it offthe island because we assumed they’d check the cameras (which we had tampered with at various points but I think were probably working then). But it was also a prime candidate for LoJack and we could not just take it out to one of our usual staging areas. So we decided to hide it in the Mare Island preserve for its waiting period. We put it in what must have been the admiral’s old residence overlooking the channel. A sufficient period went by and we retrieved the car.  However, we’d closed’it into a garage and set up several tamper-evident features. Some of those had been tripped, so it had obviously been discovered. We worried that if the police recovered the car there, they would start taking a harder look at other parts of the island. So that night we removed the car, drove it around to the other side of the island, and parked it behind a warehouse with intentions to move it offthe island the next day.

But we got worried. In our rush we had made a mess of moving the car, cutting through fences and doing other things we realized would just draw more suspicion. We had codes for most combination locks on the island (not an inside job, the codes for most locks were the same and we acquired it by surveillance and planting a hidden camera). But we needed to take some routes that didn’t allow us to use them. we also realizedthat the car seemed to have been discovered several days previously, and thought it odd that it had not been recovered. We knew of several theft rings busted by tracking devices, so we figured that police might have planted one and were waiting to see where it was transported. Nobody wanted to drive the thing and it certainly wasn’t going to our parhers. So we just left it to see what would happen, and suspended operations in the meantime.

After a few weeks, we actually reported the car ourselves. We figured that if it had become a bait car, the police would still leave it and we would know for sure. It took a while after that, but it was recovered. And we saw it back in the neighborhood. So it seemed everything was fine and we resumed operations. Another thing of which the vallejo PD may be aware. Sometime around November, we (stupidly) decided to drag race a couple of the cars at night in the abandoned portion of the island. We didn’t realize how loud it was and think somebody called it in, because the next day the custodian was there taking a hard look around, and seemed to park and watch more than usual for the next few days. We want to mention that this guy was not a bad caretaker. When we had to do something like cut a fence or chain, we were surprised out how quickly he found and mended it. There were plenty of other places on the island where teenagers and vagrants were trespassing and skateboarding or drinking beer or what have you. We even set up some beer bottles and trash once when we knew he’d seen evidence of entry, so that he’d just think it was some random folks partying. It did not look like port of Oakland out there, operations were in fits and spurts, by no means continuous, with long periods of inactivity. And we were careful. During periods of inactivity there would not have been evidence of our presence. Even things like our solar panels we would break down and put away if
not there for a while, despite their not being visible from the ground. We would choose one place to store various things that were a pain to move. But with all of the warehouses, bunkers, nooks and crannies this place had, there’s just no way to easily locate that sort of cache.

We had ip video surveillance, game cameras, a full electronic perimeter, you name it. Even a drone. A multi-thousand dollar custom drone, not a kid’s toy. We got good at using it on the island (if you can fly a drone in that wind, you can fly it anywhere), and there was some industriaUmanufacturing activity in the eastern portion of the island at night that masked the drone’s sound. We flew it mostly at night and/or too high up to see easily from the ground. Maybe some residents still noticed it. Vallejo police, if you were wondering what those two red vinyl stripes were on top of Mr. Victim M’s Camry, they were to help the drone track him later in the operation. For what it’s worth, drones scare us too. They are not at all complicated or inaccessible for someone with decent technical skills, nor that expensive. Ours had a FLIR camerq built up from a consumer
model. We used it to check things like heat signatures from above, and later to figure out how to hide from a police helicopter in a hypothetical manhunt. Speaking of heat signatures, grow house, we know who you are. It’s actually the distinctive color of those new LED lights that give it away more than emissions. Work on those blackout shades. Though it seems like you’ve drawn down recently.

As a corroborative example that involves the drone at least indirectly: we were testing a new zoomable camera, gimbal, electronic image stabilization software and high qualrty video uplink one night, as well as some sensor/telemetry items that helped the drone hold position better. The drone was hovering about 20 feet outside the second story window of a student house near the end of Sundance (which we’d cased previously for the BMW there, we had even created a key for it and for another car usually parked out front, since it was close to our base of operations and we might need a different car in an emergency). We had a good steady shot inside, even with zoom. And we saw that the upstairs resident was apparently dealing, because he was going through an envelope fulI of bills with some markings on it, and had some other paraphanelia. we were
nearby and decided to come over and have a little bit of fun. we agreed that whoever could go up and snatch the drug money with people still in the house would get what’s in the envelope plus the other two people would have to match it. one of us was up for the chalrenge. He climbed in the window and zipped up the stairs while there were about 5 people chatting in the next room, got the envelope, and slipped back out the window. The guy was definitely dealing, seeing the markings up close, but business was slow perhaps because what had looked like a fat envelope was almost completely ones. so to that gentleman, we’re sorry we stole your drug money. And we’re more sorry toward the other people in the house you probably blamed for it.

Our irreverent treatnnent of very serious material is at least somewhat intended as emblematic of how our attitudes had evolved by this point. It is no laughing matter. we committed a home invasion on a whim. It had become so corlmon for us to break into people’s houses that we joked about it, still not really seeing the harm besides creating a little mischief. It was like something out of A clockwork orange, up to that point without the ulta-violence.

We entered many homes on Mare Island. I wilt start by saying which we did not enter. If you had minor children living with you, we were not in your home. It is hard to gauge age sometimes, but if your son and/or daughter appear to be under 18 then this should be an accurate statement. If we saw toys and such in the yard we didn’t even come close. If you have a medium to large dog, we did not go in your home (unless perhaps it was away from the property during a vacation). If you appear to be 55 or older, we did not go in your home. If it was apparent that you are a veteran, retired military or have some other military connection, we did not go in your home. If we saw your house at night and the exterior was dark, and then we looked at it through our night vision and it was lit up like day with IR illuminators, we did not go in your home. In one case that also spared your neighbors. If you appeared to be especially vigilant, like the guy around the 300 block of Crisp who had his backyard staked out with lights and camcorders, we
did not enter your home.

For others, we may have been in your homes, and we are deeply sorry for and ashamed of the violation, which at the time felt like nothing to us. we did not steal things in most cases. And in aI but two cases (one mentioned above) we  were not there when you were there. We had need of internet connections for various reasons, so we typically took down your network information. At some point we were more invasive and began going through people’s belongings to learn about them, especially their electronic files. We were considering identity theft or the like, but decided that it did not have the right ratio of profitability to
relative harm. So it ended up being largely for entertainment, like a reality TV show, only not staged and completely fake.

We mention these violations in part because we have to, to avoid fruther harm. ln the run-up to the kidnapping, we planned various false leads and evidentiary obfuscation. This included collecting hairs and a few items that might have fingerprints on them from certain Mare Island homes. It’s true you can get random human hairs from all sorts of places, but we wanted somdthing that would seem to create actual leads and not just noise. we also used equipment from certain homes, or spoofed MAC addresses and/or IP addresses from equipment we did not disturb. So police, if you think you have a strong lead, we are telling
you that the perpetator is not on Mare Island, and if you storm a house and hold someone at gunpoint, it is going to be an innocent person. Exhaust the leads as protocol requires, but don’t come in shooting. And yes, we acknowledge that it would be on us more than you. We also acknowledge that it’s not impossible we would have shed DNA during the operation, though we took countermeasures including full body wetsuits (also for purposes of a swimming escape if the island were sealed off), exfoliating, moisturizing, haimets and balaclavas. We attempted to plan not just for forensic techniques that exist now, but for techniques that
could be used on preserved evidence years from now. That could include taking a vacuum bag full of dust (mostly skin) sucked up during the investigation and preserved, and in a few decades isolating, amplifuing and sequencing every last bit of DNA in there, and then comparing it to a mandatory govemment universal DNA database.. And with some machine intelligence as smart as 100 investigators, connected to massive historical data resources and working the matter around the clock, it would not be sufficient to simply introduce random DNA noise.

In any event, none of us has a conviction requiring fingerprints, DNA, etc. and we won’t be in the system, nor do our relatives to our knowledge have convictions that would require collecting their DNA. We understand that protocol doesn,t allow you to believe these statements. But we are obligated to say something at least to avoid wasted resources and more importantly to make sure an irurocent person is not harmed by our obfuscation.

I will pause to note how fantastical all of this sounds. Because even I can’t help but help but think that as I write. But it is not that implausible. usually the people plotting hard core crimes, the people tinkering in their garages with arduino boards, the people trying to think of a good start-up, the people following futurists like Ray Kurzweil or Bill Joy and who had way too many pot-fueled college debates about how exactly machines will take over the world… usually these are not the same people. In this case they are. But whether it sounds implausible or not, this is what happened.

Returning to auto theft and incidents of which the Vallejo PD is aware: another car we acquired on island was a white mustang convertible. This was from a med student, who also had t’wo fake Armani leather jackets in his closet (we couldn’t figure out whether he’d bought them or was trying to unload them, we also don’t remember whether we ended up taking them or not). we didn’t enter the house for the cEIr, we actually just wanted the wireless passwords and to see what else was there. This was a reported break-in, so we will try to give a few more corroborative details. We did copy/clone hard drives in this house and looked around quite a bit. We did not really scrutinize the downstairs resident. The two front upstairs residents seemed like really good people. How would someone judge you if they went through your room and hard drive? These two were
squeaky clean. No evidence of cheating on significant others (that was common), no hidden camera sex videos in which it was obvious the woman didn’t know she was being filmed (saw those), and no other such shenanigans. Just good straightforward people who seemed to be the exception to the rule, and who made us feel bad for ever looking.

As for the midwestern med student in the master bedroom, you can never tell for sure, but it seemed like he might be a bit of a punk or just somewhat frrtl of himself. He certainly went tear-assing around the island in that Mustang of his. So we took it, and maybe saved a neighborhood kid or dog. No really, it wasn’t a car we could really use and we would have left it if we’d thought more of him. Sorry if we got it wrong, you could actually be a great guy. He at least seemed to be a contrast to the Asian med student living in a front bedroom of the house across from them, who also kept a set of car keys in his desk, but whose Toyota we didn’t even think of taking because it looked like he had or was going to enlist in the military.

By the way, at least one person, a worker from the golf course, saw the Mustang and a few more cars staged in the southern portion of the island a few months back. The mustang had red stripes painted on by then and some other details changed. We don’t know whether this was reported.

A few more coroborative points: there were I believe only two houses from which we took very much and that were reported. It was a random selection of things because we were mostly outfitting our operations base. So yes, the AppleTV and Keurig 2.0, but no not the ps3 (had one). Aside from that we only took things we might want for a mission. we always staged some point of entry, chose a window and made it looked like it might have been forced, but we never had any problem getting in and out without any trace. We tested alarm systems and response times and figured out workarounds. For obvious reasons we wanted
to see how fast the police could get out there.

Other break-ins and car thefts we had nothing to do with. We did not want extra police attention on the island. We also generally did not go peeking into houses when people were there, except in a few specific cases in which we needed to  correlate people with cars so we could tell from a lookout or video feed if someone was coming home. As for nudity and the like, we won’t say we never saw anything (close your blinds people, even if you,re facing a swamp) but we weren’t there for that purpose. There was definitely a peeping tom in the neighborhood, presumably a student, and he seemed to cause a commotion a few times. we scared him off a roof one night, and even called the police on him once (from a burner phone, pretending to be a resident). we did not need a pervert making people more watchful and increasing the police presence on the

Hopefi’rlly the above will be sufficient corroboration for the police to see the reality, and will also provide some context for what comes next. We did not want to stay thieves or criminals forever. What we really wanted was to complete one or two big jobs and then to do whatever we felt like for the rest of our lives. There were various complications in the auto theft operations and we were getting weary of it. Perhaps the novelty was wearing offand it felt more like drudgery. The final straw came when we were getting ready to move a batch one day, and what seemed like a swarn of helicopters descended on the island and started making low level flights all over the place. we thought for sure we had been discovered and hastily packed up and hid what we could. It turned out they were spraying for mosquitos. The two more peripherial people quit at this point. It had just become too stressfrrl. Two those two individuals: we have not sought to contact you, for your own safety. we are very sorry, do what you like and we certainly will not carry out any threats made. you were obviously right. After that we packed up our operations and moved almost everything entirely off the island instead ofjust mothballing. The three of us remaining continued planning for what we had discussed before. And that was a kidnapping for ransom plot. This seemed to be a cornmon crime in other parts of the world. It seemed in the United States it was uncommon primarily because of the difficulty of executing an exchange without potentially being apprehended by authorities, and by the difficulty of spending the ransom undetected. We figured that these were just logistical problems that could be overcome by technology and perhaps
by psychological means.

We developed an elaborate plan that ultimately was to be used against high net worth targets. We would choose a couple, take them into custody in the middle of the night, and ask them detailed questions about every aspect of their lives. There was a questionnaire written up for this purpose. It included financial information, work history, friends, family, email accounts, passwords. Everything we could think of. we would separate the couple and use them as a check against each other, to make sure one was not lying to us. we would also know the answer to certain questions from our prior research, and drop in some information to the
discussions to warn the target that we already knew much of what we were asking and remind them that their partner would be punished if they lied. We also would administer various drugs stolen (sometimes just a few pills, to escape notice) from other homes we had been in, to keep the victims calm and compliant.

If we had not already, we would then assess the target’s financial situation and what they could afford to pay for ransom without completely knocking their lives off track. One matter we were figuring out was in what form we would collect the ransom, given that anybody walking into a bank and requesting $100,000 cash is going to draw some attention. we chose $8,500 because it was below the
$10,000 reporting threshhold, and far enough below that it likely would not be flagged as part of a structured transaction under that prong of the reporting law. As part of our test run, we wanted to see in what form the money would be received. Specificatly, was there any way to discernwhether the bank had included alert bills in the lot? We had studied quite a few different money tracing techniques and needed some real world data.

The cash portion of the ransom was not going to be the only thing demanded. we researched money laundering and value stores such as gold and diamonds. Diamonds were especially attractive, given that we wanted to use the drone during the drop/pick-up phase of the operation and stay at a distance. Diamonds were more than small enough to make this possible. we researched and succeeded inpolishing the labaratory certification number offthe girdle of a sample diamond. we investigated diamond “fingerprints” and what cut and characteristics would give us an untraceable value store, and how much we would lose in resale. ‘We researched gold coins and bullion, and decided that Canadian gold maple leafs would be our best option. However, for the Mare Island operation, we would use one oI more diamonds, given the shorter period of
captivity that would require (gold coins take longer to arrive).

So one captured subject would be responsible for obtaining the ransom and the other would be used as collateral. Typically the female would be collateral, due to the manageability and gender dynamics. The male, although not technically captive, would be watched 100% of the time during the operation by video surveillance set up in the couple’s house. He would be restricted to certain areas of the house. He would also be responsible for deflecting attention from the fact that his partner was missing. He would call in sick for her, reply to texts on her behalf and/or pretending to be her, and in general field any inquiries that might
arise. A1l of his communications would be monitored. His phone would be tracked. Any computer or device he used would have installed on it monitoring software such as Spector 360.

Essentially, we would have complete control and there would be no way for him to contact authorities without us knowing. No surprises. We even had planned to call pretending to be a concerned neighbor and offering an apparent chance to alert the outside world surreptitiously (“if you’re being watched or something right  now and can’t speak freely, just say ‘thank you, I’m really ok’ and I’11 know what’s going on”), and then punishing him for it to make stre he would be uncertain about any real such opporhrnities that presented themselves.

While collecting the ransom, the subject would also be monitored 100% of the time. He would have to have an open phone line, his phone would be GPS tracked, there would be a back-up tracker on the car, and both of them would be monitored by a drone as much as possible (given flight time limitations). Certain ransom items, such as diamonds, would be delivered to the house, and the male would be there to collect them. Their credit cards would also be used to acquire certain items that were harder to get anonymously.

The kidnapped subject was to be teated well and comforted as much as possible under the circumstances. Upon her return, the couple would be informed of the dire consequences of any attempt to contact the authorities. At various stages, we were to let stip or insinuate that we were ex-military and/or long-time members of organized crime and of a K&R ring in particular. This K&R ring was supposedly responsible for collecting on debts and promises owed to organized crime. The subjects would be told they were targeted because a family member had failed to live up to a promise’ We practiced some military jargon and in general tried to come offas militaristic and professionar in our execution of the mission.

Basically, we wanted to be seen as hard men who would treat them professionally but not hesitate to harm or kill if required. Stating that we were a standing ring would also allow us to normalize certain desired conduct, such as not reporting the ordeal to the police afterwards. we would mention how and why other victims had not reported, and what had happened to those who did. And besides direct threats made against family members–whose detailed information we would have collected–there was the uncertainty of an unknown family member or associate being invblved somehow, and what effect reporting to the authorities
might have on the family.

we rehearsed various aspects of the kidnapping extensively. we did not know how people would react to being woken up and taken prisoner. We did not know whether to subdue them by force or by threat. we knew we did not want to use actual firearms. We did not know whether people would be able to even function under such stress. we came up with a number of measures to address these issues.

First, we considered subduing people with stun guns. while they slept, we could easily close with them and administer a safe but sufficiently long shock to incapacitate them. They could then be bound and moved without a greatdeal of  commotion or a dangerous struggle. We actually simulated this. It tumed out that even well-reviewed stun guns are consistently effective only as pain-compliance tools. Even a firll five second shock to one of us did not fully incapacitate or  disorient us, though it was extraordinarily unpleasant. we did not want to use tasers due to associated fatalities. So we used stun guns only for intimidation, and
potentially would deliver a brief shock to the male if circumstances called for punishment

Those were not the only nonlethals with which we experimented. we also purchased a dog-bark collar, to find out what, if any, human yelling or noise could activate it. We tested a regular remote control shock collar. And we tested a muscle stimulation device taken from a Mare Island home, to see if we could arrange the electrodes in a way that would involuntarily close offsomeone’s throat if he or she tried to scream. We tried all of these items on each other, jackass st5rle, but elected not to use anyhing except the stun gun for intimidation. Items were bought with cash or anonymous gift cards, or stolen. one or two things were purchased with a stolen credit card.

Instead of subduing by force, we subdued Mr. victim M and Ms. victim F by threat. Mr. Victim M was more fastidious than most homeowners about securing his house. We had to drill through a window pane to release a lock. (If the CSI time inspected the site closely, they probably noticed the drilling. The apparently jimmied garage window was staged.) We made our preparations and inspected a few last things once inside. We found a purse with ID belonging to a victim F inside. This was unexpected. The operation had been planned around Victim M and another person we believed present, initials AR (authorities will be familiar with this person). We will not discuss why or whether it was significant that it was [victim M’s ex-fiance]. There was some connection, and somebody on the team had been shown a picture of [Victim M’s ex-fiance]. Certain features were the same as Ms. Victim F’so we assumed it was the same person. There had also been belonglngs and engagement cards in the house suggesting that [Victim M,sex-fiance] was still living there and was Mr. victim M’s fiance. However, we had previously entered the house some time before and this information was stale.

Two of us went upstairs and woke up Mr.Victim M and Ms. Victim F while the third served as lookout. We used fake guns with strobe flashlights and laser pointers attached. They woke up and complied with our demands to cooperate and accept being bound. They were obviously scared, but much calmer and collected than we ever would have expected. They were moved into the closet.

At that point, I went downstairs to see to various things that needed to be done. I was not the one dealing directly with the subjects and the person who did is unavailable. I am pulling some of this information and text from an e-mail message that person wrote. But I may get certain details wrong. That is most certainly not because this is a hoax. Everything Ms. victim F and Mr. victim M tells you is undoubtedly true, however bizarre it might sound.

The subjects were given headsets to listen to calming music and some spoken instructions. Their vitals were checked and a brief medical history obtained. We wished to administer sedatives both to make them more compliant and to make the situation less traumatic for them. we had extensively researched drug interactions and had various options depending on what seemed safest for them.

For whatever it is worth, I will say briefly that throughout the planning process, it was our currently missing member who insisted on various safety measures and on minimizing harm, as paradoxical as that sounds. He spent a greatdeal of time trying to make a horrific crime easier on the victims. He even delved into literature on trauma and recovery, having gone through something like it himself, and had prepared materials to be given to the victims afterwards. He obviously chose to take part in this and is just as culpable as any of us. But I felt it needed to be said.

At some point, that member of the team informed me that the person we had was Victim F and not [Victim M’s ex-fiance]. This threw a monkey wrench into our plans. Disagreement broke out among the three of us. I insisted that we should continue and carry out the operation, that it was a training mission anyhow, and that we needed the experience so that we could have successful missions later. So we continued.

As planned, one of us collected detailed biographical information about the subjects. Another of us began going through computers and phones and compiling information. The third began setting up technical items such as the cameras and tracking software that would be used to control the subject responsible for obtaining ransom.

The team member handling the subjects wanted certain information conveyed: throughout their ordeal they remained calm, if scared. They expressed concem about each other. When told they would be missing work for several days, they asked about their patients and how they could make arrangments for them and whether they were allowed to write a message. In many ways, there were more composed than we were.

The operation continued to go awry. Mr. Victim M could not remember the administrative password for his router, and the spare that we had brought was accidentallybroken in one of the packs, along with a camera. The reset button on the Asus router did not seem to work. The monitoring software we had did not seem to be compatible with the iOS version of the subjects’ iPhones. ‘We would essentially be flying blind, with most of our planned monitoring measures unavailable. Further, various points of leverage against the subject had been lost given that the female turned out not to be [Victim M’s ex-fiance].

We proceeded nonetheless. Mr. Victim M was given instructions to remain bound until a certain time, and then to wait for us to get in touch. Ms. Victim F was evacuated in the trunk of Mr. Victim M’s car, which was switched out for another car that folded into the regular morning traffic on the island. That car was then swapped out for another that brought Ms. Victim F to her final destination a
few hours away.

We cleaned up, ran through our checklist, distributed our various red herrings, and cleared out. Not long after that, the team member responsible for technical matters such as the ip cameras stopped cooperating with me. He also had the computer on which much of the information we had collected was stored. I had very limited means of even getting in touch with l/fu. victim M, and was uneasy about doing so since I was less familiar with all of the ways communications could be tracked.

Ms. Victim F was treated as plarured and was calm and stable according to the reports of her handler. This team member, in fact, was apparently so impressed with Ms. victim F’bearing that he became her advocate. There could be no clearer case of reverse Stockholm syndrome. He urged me to end the operation and drop the ransom request and give everything up. Having two team members betray me enraged me at the time, and worried me deeply. I felt that the team member handling Ms. Victim F was going to give up and go to authorities. I took strong measures to prevent that, made various threats, partially carried out some, and I am deeply remorsefi.rl for that, wherever you are.

That team member wanted the following conveyed (lightly edited): The very first time I heard her cry was not until the last few hours. I showed her an article on her kidnapping, and it included a plea from her father and reflected how worried her family was. She began cryrng as she read, and I said something like “I know, seeing it in print must make it feel like this is really happening to you.” She said something to the effect of “no, it’s not that, it’s just that I can’t imagine how much my family is suffering right now.” She was bound, drugged and didn’t know forsure if she’d see the sun again. And she was worried about her family. Before she
knew that victim M went to police and this was news, she also kept asking what time we thought she would be returned on Wednesday, and whether she would get to work on time. She wanted to know what her boss and patients had been told. For god’s sake this has to end.

I believe the rest of what happened is known. I will not go back over the persecution of the victims. There are doubtless good, hard-working men and women in the vPD and press co{ps, certainly better people than we are, and though they may have some soul-searching to do perhaps they should not be exorciated for this. We are the ones responsible for this insanity. And I do not like to admit it, but in all likelihood it would have continued if things had gone differently that night, and if victim M and especially victim F had been less uncommonly good people. By the strength of her character, Ms. victim F more or less single-handedly broke up a professional K&R ring before it got off the ground. We are not casting her as a saint to try to make things up to her. I’m sure she is as human as the rest of us. But it is the simple truth that she has prevented
a greatdeal ofharm to others, and suffered a high cost herself.

We obviously have not been good Christians. But for my part, I believe God placed Ms. Victim F in our path to prevent us from inflicting even gteater harms on the world. And He further tested her with the police and media response in order to root out our last shreds of humanity, to humble and sharne us into forever abandoning our horrific plans, and to confess the truth of what happened and what we did. I do not know whether Ms. Victim F even believes in God, but whatever religion she may or may not hold He has undoubtedly worked through her.

This is the only statement that will be made. We are not doing an interview or  AMA or anything else that might seem to sensationalize this. I apologize for passages of this that were light or irreverent. It was written piecemeal over multiple days, by multiple people, and has turned out a bit incoherent and streamof-consciousness. But I believe it contains the necessary information. We have also included a few corroborative photographs, described below

What we did was evil and shameful. Period. The only point of explaining is to make the police and the public believe the victims, so their nightmare can end and they can heal and get on with their lives. A11 indications are that Ms. Victim F and Mr. Victim M are two really great people who deserve none of this. We are obviously not the ones who can help them with their recovery. But we certainly
hope the police and others will now see to it that they are supported unequivocally and firlly.

Corroborating Photos
http : //www.

The first photo includes the last of the gear to be disposed of from our operations. It is a tiny but representative fraction of what we had (the rest of which has been disposed of across the bay area and state). It includes, among other things, one of the fake guns with which the victims were tlreatened (some spray paint has rubbed off), cameras and microcameras, video transmission equipment, routers and computers, various electronics and repair supplies, gloves used the night of the operation, blood pressure cuff used, zip tie bindings worn then later cut off Ms. Victim F, flashlights, radios, portable speakers used to play white noise to
reduee the chances neighbors would be awoken by any commotion, wig, OBD equipment, lock cylinders, about 8 stolen taillights/headlights that hadn’t sold yet, various other car trim parts, some license plates used in transporting cars, portable printer used for things like registration tags, IR illuminator, various tools, lighting equipment, supplies to paint and refirbish cars before shipping, “burner” cell
phones, and so on.

Some of these items were stolen from homes or czrs (including homes on Mare Island), such as the two bose systems, the portable printer, the radar detector, the knife, the wireless router, one of the cameras. The sunglasses case was from a car stolen on Mare Island. The sunglasses themselves were given to Ms. Victim F when she was dropped ofl with instructions to wear them so that people would
not notice her eyes were taped shut. Mare Island residents, if you recognize something as yours, please contact police and so advise them, to help the victims prove this is not a hoax.

http :i/www. anony. ws/imagelDOcl

The next photo depicts the room where Ms. Victim F was held, taken while she was away in the restroom and the window covering was being readjusted to black out all light. Her prescription glasses can be seen on top of the chest of drawers. (The photo was taken to ask a question about something in a cropped out part of the frame.)

http : //www. Oc3
http ://
http : //www. 5

Next are sample photos of wireless router passcodes. There were many more. We chose one from a house on Poplar whose residents knew it was broken into, and one from a house on Tisdale whose residents did not. We are using this particular Tisdale house as a sample because we already mentioned something indicating we had been inside that house (choosing not to take the car of a medical student who was interested in or already enlisted in military service). We also collected MAC addresses, for various reasons. All computers and electronic media with such information, and any cloned hard drives and the like, have been
destroyed (except a few items shown in the photograph that will likely be destroyed by the time you read this).

htp : //www.

This photo shoes the logo that was printed on materials to be given to victims, instructing them never to go to authorities. “Keep quiet, be noble and bear your own suffering. Or your family will.” There is good reason Mr. Victirn M and Ms. Victim F acted in what might be considered an unusual way. They were made through carefully calculated measures to believe their families were in serious danger.

May God have mercy on us. We expect none from you.,,


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