‘Gone Girl’ case: Man sentenced in abduction once called a hoax

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A judge sentenced a former Harvard-trained attorney to 40 years in prison for a kidnapping so elaborate and bizarre that police in California initially dismissed it as a hoax.

U.S. District Judge Troy Nunley handed down the term Thursday to 39-year-old Matthew Muller for what he called a “heinous, atrocious, horrible crime.” Muller pleaded guilty in September in the case that investigators once erroneously likened to the movie, “Gone Girl.”

Police realized Denise Huskins was telling the truth about her 2015 kidnapping after Muller was implicated in a different crime.

Huskins and her boyfriend, who also was tied up and drugged when she was abducted, gave tearful statements describing the physical and psychological torture that still haunts them.

Muller told the court that he was “sick with shame” for the pain he caused.

Prosecutors recommended the 40-year sentence in a plea deal. The defense had asked for 30 years.

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