Marilou Danley, the girlfriend of apparent Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock, has returned to the U.S. from the Philippines. Officials have said they hope she might shed some light on the thinking of the murderer behind the worst mass shooting in American history.
Danley, who had been in the Philippines for almost a week before the attack, arrived in Los Angeles on Tuesday night. Paddock had recently wired close to $100,000 to the Philippines, authorities said. Paddock’s brother Eric told the Washington Post he believes Paddock was trying to ensure Danley was not in the country during the attack. Danley’s sisters said in a TV interview in Australia that Stephen bought the ticket to the Philippines for her and that she was “in love” with him.
Authorities said Danley is considered a “person of interest” in the investigation, but that does not necessarily mean they believe she was involved in the attack. Authorities did not arrest her, an anonymous official told the Associated Press, but they hope she will be able to answer some questions.
In the meantime, reporters have been digging up information on Danley and Paddock.
Paddock was a multimillionaire, according to his brother. Their mother raised them and their two other brothers mostly by herself, as their father was a bank robber who twice escaped jail and spent years on the FBI’s most wanted list.
According to Paddock’s brother Eric, he and Stephen started a real estate investment business together. Before that, he had worked government jobs as a letter carrier, an agent for the IRS, and an auditor for the U.S. government Defense Contract Audit Agency, according to the Washington Post.
Danley, who is originally from the Philippines but is an Australian citizen, previously lived in Memphis with her ex-husband, whom she was married to for 25 years, according to the New York Times. Danley worked retail jobs and for an airline, and she eventually met Paddock when she was working as a high-limit hostess at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, Nevada, according to Paddock’s brother.
An executive host at the casino told the Times that he believed Danley became Paddock’s go-to host after serving him frequently. Paddock’s brother told the Washington Post that Paddock visited the Atlantis so much, the casino once allowed his family to take the entire top floor of the casino for free. According to the Times, Danley divorced her husband in 2015—when she was apparently already living with Paddock.
Articles suggest that Danley’s life and interaction with the world changed dramatically when she got together with Paddock.
The New York Times said:
Before the divorce, neighbors described Ms. Danley as a chatty extrovert who hosted cookouts.
But when Ms. Danley was living with Mr. Paddock in a Reno subdivision, the couple were not viewed as sociable.
Eric Paddock, Mr. Paddock’s youngest brother, said his brother loved Ms. Danley and doted on her.
USA Today described something similar:
Danley would host parties, sleepovers for the neighborhood kids and slip-and-slide get-togethers at the two-story tan home that she lived in with her then-husband in a newer community in northeast Sparks, Nev. She lived a “normal life” with her “normal husband,” neighbor Troy Riley said.
But once she lived with Paddock, things changed. Again from USA Today:
Paddock’s next door neighbor Susan Page described the two as “closet people” who “kept to themselves.” Other neighbors on Del Webb Parkway didn’t have many interactions with Paddock and Marilou Danley and had never seen the couple at the community’s weekly social events.
The Washington Post, however, found that even after Danley had moved in with Paddock, neighbors still found her to have a markedly different disposition from her boyfriend:
Neighbors described Danley as extremely sweet and friendly. She hugged her when they saw each other. Paddock, however, was more standoffish.
Neighbors in several states where he owned homes in retirement communities described him as surly and unfriendly.
The Los Angeles Times offered a disturbing anecdote about Paddock’s treatment of Danley at a Starbucks in Mesquite, Nevada:
The abuse would come when she asked to use his casino card to make the purchase.
“He would glare down at her and say—with a mean attitude—‘You don’t need my casino card for this. I’m paying for your drink, just like I’m paying for you.’ Then she would softly say, ‘OK’ and step back behind him. He was so rude to her in front of us.”
FBI officials have begun questioning Danley, who now has an attorney, a law enforcement official told the Associated Press. Investigators are trying to trace the money Paddock sent to the Philippines and are looking over reports that Paddock gambled more than $10,000 per day in the past several weeks.