FBI report details Palo Alto home invasion, sexual assault cases | News | Palo Alto Online |


FBI report details Palo Alto home invasion, sexual assault cases

Bizarre crimes involved interrogating victims for computer passwords, identifying information

A Federal Bureau of Investigation affidavit related to the bizarre kidnapping of a Vallejo woman in March reveals new information regarding cases Matthew Daniel Muller is suspected of perpetrating in Palo Alto and Mountain View.

Muller, 38, is also a suspect in a home invasion and restraint of a Palo Alto woman, police previously confirmed. But the August 14 FBI affidavit filed in U.S. District Court indicates he is suspected of many more crimes dating back to September 2009, including a suspicious person incident, false imprisonment with violence, two sexual assaults with attempted rape. The incidents occurred in Palo Alto and Mountain View.

Muller, a former Marine, Harvard Law School graduate and disbarred attorney, was arrested for the March 23 alleged kidnapping of Denise Huskins, 29, of Vallejo during a home-invasion robbery. Her boyfriend, Aaron Quinn, was also present when the kidnapping took place at a home on Mare Island, according to an earlier federal affidavit against Muller filed in U.S. District Court on June 29.

In the Palo Alto suspicious person case on Sept. 25, 2009, Muller is suspected of emerging from the rear of an apartment building and entering another apartment area at about 12:04 a.m. He told an investigating officer that he was a visiting professor from Harvard and was teaching at Stanford. A follow-up investigation found that to not be true.

Muller is suspected in an Oct. 18, 2009, assault and attempted rape of a College Terrace woman. The victim, a 32-year-old Harvard student studying at Stanford University, was awakened at 3:30 a.m. in her apartment by a man who jumped on top of her, straddled her and told her it was a robbery. He allegedly said he was there for information.

The suspect restrained her arms behind her back and tied her ankles together with Velcro. He placed ear plugs in her ears and covered her eyes with surgical tape.

He gave the victim three options: to be given NyQuil, stunned with a stun gun or be injected with "A-Bomb." After she pleaded to be given NyQuil, he read the ingredients to her to be sure she didn't have any allergies. He poured an unknown quantity of NyQuil directly into the victim's mouth.

The suspect asked her questions, such as her log in PIN numbers for her Harvard and Stanford accounts, her email address and password, prior addresses, previous travel locations, if she was on a TSA hold, her parents' names, their phone numbers and birthdays, her parents' social security numbers, addresses and her sister's address and phone number.

The victim believed he was asking the questions for some kind of online overseas transactions, according to the August affidavit.

At one point she heard the suspect whispering and talking to another person. She also saw a silhouette of a second person, but she did not see or hear the person.

The suspect allegedly attempted to rape the victim, and she began to fight with him. During the fight, he threatened to inject her with Ketamine.

When the victim told the suspect she had previously been raped, he stopped attempting to rape her.

Further investigation found that she had attended an event at Harvard University on Feb. 6, 2008, that Muller had organized, according to the affidavit.

A Palo Alto police detective investigating the crime contacted Muller, who initially agreed to questioning, but his attorney later contacted police to advise the detective that Muller would not be meeting with police.

Based on a failed log-in attempt to the victim's email, police obtained a search warrant for another location that was not associated with Muller. The occupant agreed to a DNA swab and he was eventually eliminated as a suspect, according to the affidavit.

In another Palo Alto attempted rape and assault case on Nov. 29, 2012, the sleeping victim was awakened by a shadow near her bed and the suspect jumped on her and told her to shut up.

The victim screamed loudly a number of times and began to fight with the suspect. After a struggle, he got off the woman and ran from the house.

The victim's computer, which was downstairs, had been moved to a different location. Two "bump keys" were left at the scene near the front door. The keys are a type of master key that is designed to open all locks of a specific manufacturer, the affidavit noted.

The detective investigating this case noted that in 2009 Muller's DNA was tested and it did not match DNA recovered at the scene at one of the 2009 break-ins. The detective also noted that the 2009 suspect had told the victim that he was leaving evidence to mislead law enforcement, according to the FBI affidavit.

In the Mountain View case, a 27-year-old woman was asleep in her apartment on Sept. 29, 2009, when she awoke at about 5 a.m. to find a man on her back. The man made similar statements about his purposes to the one given to the College Terrace victim.

He also handcuffed the victim's hands and used Velcro to bind her feet. At one point, he placed a mask or swim goggles over her eyes.

The victim was also given an amount of an unknown liquid to drink, which she thought was NyQuil. The suspect asked similar questions as were asked in the College Terrace case.

At one point, he called the woman's boss and told him she was sick. The suspect threatened to rape the woman, but he did not.

The Aug. 14 affidavit is part of an application for a warrant to search electronic devices belonging to Muller. Investigators are seeking information on the devices related to any Internet searches of the victims prior to the crimes and any financial transactions related to purchases of swim goggles and other things used in the crimes.

In the Vallejo case, a person broke into Quinn's home on Mare Island and used a Taser on him, according to the June 29 FBI affidavit. The suspect drugged him and Huskins by force with a tranquilizer and Nyquil. The victims were bound with zip ties at the hands and feet and made to wear swimming goggles covered with masking tape.

Muller was arrested after a June 5 home invasion of a Dublin couple and their daughter who were asleep in their bedrooms. The intruder allegedly tried to zip tie them, but the male victim fought him and the female victim fled to the bathroom, where she called police. Officers found a cellphone the intruder allegedly left behind. The phone allegedly belonged to Muller, according to the June affidavit.

When Muller was arrested in South Lake Tahoe, police found a laptop that appeared to be the same type as the one stolen from Quinn, a toy Supersoaker spray painted black, swimming goggles covered with duct tape and zip ties, among other evidence linking him to the Vallejo incident, according to the June affidavit.

Santa Rita Jail authorities recorded a July 17, 2015, jailhouse interview Muller had with KPIX San Francisco journalist Juliette Goodrich and the recording was turned over to the FBI.

Muller said that he had a psychotic break in 2009, the year of the Palo Alto and Mountain View incidents . He said he believed there was a conspiracy and that he had a side effect related to a vaccine.

Muller was the subject of a missing-person report in Menlo Park on Nov. 13, 2009, after he left a note to his then-wife that said, "I am going completely off the grid -- no phone, email, credit cards, etc."

In a separate email to his wife and family, he said he had mental health problems and lived in terror most of the time. He feared that he was up against people who wanted to investigate and arrest him "to achieve just ends."

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4 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 2, 2015 at 12:12 pm

This sounds horrifying! I can't imagine the terror that this man caused upon his victims!

There is nothing as evil as an "intelligent" type of criminal like this who gets a thrill from the crime itself rather than a tangible thing.

18 people like this
Posted by True
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 2, 2015 at 3:05 pm

True is a registered user.

Wow, and this community always thinks an Ivy League degree graduate has a halo over the head.

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