The girlfriend of the man who carried out Sunday night’s massacre on the Las Vegas Strip met with the FBI in Los Angeles Wednesday, then told reporters through her attorney she’s “devastated” by her lover’s actions and she knew nothing about his deadly plans.
Marilou Danley, 62, landed at Los Angeles International Airport Tuesday night on a flight from the Philippines and was met by federal agents at the airport. Video from the scene showed Danley being pushed in a wheelchair shortly after her plane landed around 7:30 p.m., although there was no immediate explanation why the device was needed.
Danley has been deemed only a person of interest in connection with Stephen Paddock’s shooting spree that killed 58 concertgoers and injured more than 500 others at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in Las Vegas. Paddock, 64, killed himself before he could be taken into custody in his 32nd- floor room of the Mandalay Bay hotel, located across the street from the outdoor concert venue.
Danley’s attorney, Matthew Lombard, told reporters around 3 p.m. outside the Federal Building in West Los Angeles that Danley had not spoken publicly earlier because “it’s important that we respect the investigative process.:
We wanted the FBI and the Las Vegas Police Department to have the first opportunity to talk to my client, Marilou Danley, about everything she knew about Stephen.”
Lombard read a statement from Danley, in which she said she was “devastated” by the carnage Paddock unleashed Sunday night, but she had no idea he was planning such an attack.
“I knew Stephen Paddock as a kind, caring, quiet man,” Danley said in the statement. “I loved him and hoped for a quiet future together with him. He never said anything to me or took any action that I was aware of that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this was going to happen.”
Danley said Paddock told her about two weeks ago that he had found her a cheap flight to the Philippines and he told her to go visit her family.
“Like all Filipinos abroad, I was excited to go home and see family and friends,” she said. “While there, he wired me money, which he said was for me to buy a house for me and my family. I was grateful, but honestly, I was worried that first the unexpected trip home and then the money was a way of breaking up with me. It never occurred to me in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone.”
Danley said she voluntarily flew back to the United States because she knew investigators wanted to speak to her “and I wanted to talk to them.”
“I will cooperate fully with their investigation. Anything I can do to help ease suffering and help in any way, I will do. Please respect my privacy and my family’s privacy,” she said.
Lombard did not take questions from reporters after reading the statement. It was unclear if Danley would be remaining in Los Angeles or returning to Las Vegas or the Philippines.
In the hours after the shooting, law enforcement authorities said they were searching for Danley, noting that her ID was found in Paddock’s hotel room. Officials later said they had located her overseas, spoken to her briefly and determined she was in the Philippines.
Danley’s sisters told Australia’s Channel 7 that Paddock sent Danley away to the Philippines so she wouldn’t interfere in his plans.
“She was sent away,” one sister said. “She was away so that she will not be there to interfere with what he’s planning.”
The sisters, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also insisted Danley didn’t know anything about the shooting.
Danley’s older brother, Reynaldo Bustos, told ABC News he spoke to her shortly after Paddock was identified as the gunman.
“I called her up immediately and she said, `Relax, we shouldn’t worry about it. I’ll fix it. Do not panic. I have a clean conscience,”‘ Bustos said.
Media reports out of Las Vegas suggested that Paddock sent as much as $100,000 to the Philippines for Danley in recent months.
Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, citing records from the Nevada Prescription Monitoring Program, reported that Paddock was prescribed an anti- anxiety drug in June that can lead to aggressive behavior. The paper reported that Paddock was prescribed 50 10-milligram diazepam tablets by Henderson physician Dr. Steven Winkler on June 21.
Paddock purchased the drug — its brand name is Valium — at a Walgreens store in Reno on the same day it was prescribed, according to the Review- Journal. He was supposed to take one pill a day.
Diazepam is a sedative-hypnotic drug in the class of drugs known as benzodizepines. Studies reportedly have shown it can trigger aggressive behavior. Chronic use or abuse of sedatives such as diazepam can also trigger psychotic experiences, according to drugabuse.com.
President Donald Trump visited Las Vegas Wednesday and met with survivors of the shooting and law enforcement authorities who responded to the scene.
According to the Washington Post, gambler Paddock and Danley met a number of years ago. She was a “high-limit hostess” at the Club Paradise in Reno’s Atlantis Casino Resort Spa.
Paddock’s brother Eric was quoted by the Post as recalling that the couple was “adorable – big man, tiny woman.
“He loved her. He doted on her.”
Paddock and Danley were seen regularly gambling at Reno casinos side by side.
Law enforcement officials have tracked down a transfer of about $100,000 to someone in the Philippines by Danley prior to the Las Vegas attack, and that someone may have been his girlfriend who was apparently in that country until her return to Los Angeles Tuesday night.
Paddock’s brother Eric speculated that the killer may have arranged to have Danley out of the United States at the time of the mass shooting.
—City News Service