When 32-year-old physical therapist Denise Huskins told police she had been drugged, bound and raped by a kidnapper demanding ransom, police immediately doubted her story.
She told Vallego Police she had been abducted from her boyfriend Aaron Quinn's bedroom in the early hours of the morning, before being let go two days later.
That same day, police announced 'none of the claims has been substantiated' and accused Denise and Aaron of taking 'valuable resources away from our community'.
Denise was quickly labelled 'Gone Girl', after the popular novel and movie where a woman stages her own abduction.
But the couple has since been awarded a $3.2 million settlement from the city after Denise's kidnapper, disbarred attorney Matthew Muller, was caught and arrested.
Now Denise and Aaron have spoken about the pain and devastation they felt from not being believed.
'I don't know how to describe what it's like to sit back silently and watch the world have a conversation ... on the most horrific thing that you've lived through,' Denise told ABC's 20/20 program.
Denise described how the couple were woken at 3am by flashing lights and voices telling them it was a robbery.
'The voice kept saying over and over again, 'wake up, this is a robbery, we're not here to harm you,' she said.
Denise was instructed to tie her boyfriend's hands and feet behind his back before being they were both fed sleeping tablets and she was taken from the house.
Denise said she 'expected the worst' during her 48-hour ordeal and she was raped twice while her kidnapper demanded a ransom of two installments of $110,000.
Finally, her kidnapper blindfolded her and drove her about seven hours away to Huntington Beach, California.
'When he opened the car door I thought ... this is it,” she said. “Either I’m going to hear a gunshot and that’s it, or I’m going to get pushed off a cliff.'
'Then I heard a door close behind me, and I pulled up the blindfold, and I saw a toilet and a cement room. And I thought, ‘Oh God, he is going to release me.'
When Aaron went to Vallejo Police Department after his partner disappeared, he was told, “I don’t believe you,” by a detective.
People immediately began pointing the finger at him, claiming he must have killed his partner.
'I knew they were gonna look at me as a suspect. If she didn't get the kidnappers to let her go, I would be behind bars,' he told ABC.
For some time, the case was labelled a hoax, until in late 2015, a similar failed kidnapping attempt took place. It led to the arrest of Matthew Muller, a 39-year-old former marine and barred lawyer, and he was linked to Denise's abduction.
Muller is now serving a 40 year sentence after pleading guilty to the kidnapping.
But despite the case being solved, the couple still receive threatening and abusive messages from people saying they are 'going to hell'.
Regardless, they are now determined to move on with their lives and will be getting married this year.