US Probe in Las Vegas Shooting Expands to Philippines

Felipe Villamor
171004-girlfriend-620.jpg Destiny Alvers reacts at a makeshift memorial for those killed during Sunday’s massacre on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Oct. 3, 2017.

Updated at 5:38 p.m. ET on 2017-10-04

A Filipina described as the girlfriend of the alleged lone gunman in the Las Vegas massacre flew from Manila to the United States late Tuesday night, where authorities were waiting to question her in connection with the shooting, Philippine officials said Wednesday.

As investigators were gathering pieces of a puzzle to uncover a motive for Sunday night’s shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, Marilou Danley, 62, the girlfriend of the late gunman identified by local police as Stephen Paddock, 64, landed at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) early Wednesday (local time) to meet with FBI officials.

They wanted to question her about a money transfer of $100,000 that Paddock had allegedly wired to her account in the Philippines during the days leading up to the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, according to reports.

"Danley arrived in the Philippines last month, and then there was a wire transfer to her account for $100,000 from Stephen," Nick Suarez, spokesman for the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), told AFP, adding that the FBI had sought its help in tracking down Danley.

"The FBI has coordinated with the Philippine office of the Interpol to look for her."

Philippine officials described Danley as a Filipina with an Australian passport. U.S. authorities said she was Paddock’s live-in companion in Nevada.

Danley left Manila for Los Angeles aboard a Philippine Airlines plane, said Antonette Mangrobang, spokeswoman for the Philippine immigration bureau, adding that Philippine authorities had assisted U.S. officials in the matter.

“She uses her Australian passport. She was processed as a regular passenger,” Mangrobang told reporters, adding that Danley was believed to have flown alone.

Danley, who was not placed under arrest upon her arrival at LAX, was captured on footage broadcast by NBC News being swiftly pushed on a wheelchair, as she used her left hand to keep a baseball cap pressed down on her head. A lawyer who claimed to be her representative told reporters she was being treated as a witness.

Danley is considered a “person of interest” by U.S. authorities, who were hoping to obtain answers from her on what drove Paddock, a moneyed gambler, into committing the crime.

At least 58 people were killed and more than 500 others wounded in the attack that targeted an open-air country music concert in the American gambling capital. Paddock allegedly carried out the shooting from a suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino resort. The retired accountant turned his hotel room into a sniper’s nest, firing down into the crowd of concert goers hundreds of yards away, before taking his own life, Las Vegas police said.

This undated portrait released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police shows Marilou Danley, identified as the girlfriend of Stephen Paddock. [AFP]

‘He sent her away’

An undated online photo showed Danley and Paddock enjoying a meal spread on banana leaves, a common sight in many Filipino homes during special gatherings.

Danley was born in the Philippines and she moved to Australia where she met Geary Danley, Philippine authorities said. In 1990, the couple divorced after 25 years and she moved to the United States, where she met Paddock, they said.

Danley was described by her neighbors as an outgoing woman who loved cookouts and block parties. She often travelled, and visited relatives in the Philippines and in Dubai, officials said.

In an emotional interview with Australia’s Channel 7 network, Danley’s two Australia-based sisters said she had been “sent away” by Paddock before the massacre, so she wouldn’t get in the way of his plans.

“He sent her away. So that he can plan what he is planning without interruptions,” said one of the sisters. “In that sense, I thank him for sparing my sister’s life. But that won’t be able to compensate the 59 people’s lives.”

“She didn’t even know that she was going to the Philippines, until Steve said, ‘Marilou, I found you a cheap ticket to the Philippines,’” another sister said. “And I know that she don’t know anything as well like us. She was sent away. She was away so that she will be not there to interfere with what he was planning.”

Danley’s sisters spoke with their faces blurred, and the TV network withheld their names.

Danley was in Southeast Asia on Sunday night, having arrived in the Philippines on Sept. 15, according to a report by the Associated Press that cited immigration documents.

She left on Sept. 22 and returned to the Philippines three days later on a flight from Hong Kong, reports said.


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