On October 5, Marilou Danley, the 62-year-old girlfriend of Las Vegas gunmen Stephen Paddock, spoke about the incident via a statement read by her lawyer.
Danley’s lawyer, Matthew Lombard, read the statement to the press outside of FBI headquarters in Los Angeles. The transcript is as follows:
“I am devastated by the deaths and injuries that have occurred and my prayers go out to the victims, and their families, and all those who have been hurt by this awful event. I have faith in God, and I will continue to pray for everyone who has been harmed or hurt. I am a mother and a grandmother, and my heart breaks for all who have lost loved ones.”
“I knew Stephen Paddock as a kind, caring, quiet man. I loved him and hoped for a quiet future together with him. He never said anything 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.”
“A little more than two weeks ago Steve told me that he found a cheap ticket for me to the Philippines and that he wanted me to take a trip home to see my family. Like all Filipinos abroad, I was excited to go home and see family and friends. 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 at first that the unexpected trip home and 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.”
“I have not made a statement until now because I have been cooperating with the authorities and have voluntarily flown back to America because I know that the FBI and Las Vegas police department wanted to talk to me and I want 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. Thank you.”
NBC’s Australian partner, Channel 7, spoke with Danley’s sisters, who chose to have their faces blurred during the interview. One sister said that Danley was sent away purposefully in order to “not interfere with what he’s planning.” The same sister added that Danley was unaware of her trip to the Philippines until Paddock had given her the ticket.
“In that sense, I thank him for sparing my sister’s life but that won’t be able to compensate for the 59 people’s lives,” she added.
The sisters reported that Paddock had wired about $100,000 to Danley while she was in the Philippines.
ABC News spoke with her brother, Reynaldo Bustos, who immediately called his sister after news of the attack reached him. He reportedly told ABC, “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,'” before adding that she reassured him of her innocence.
Bustos said that Danley had become the breadwinner for the house when she was only 16 years old, sending money back home to the Philippines after she moved away. She also helped to raise their other sisters.
Danley was born in the Philippines in 1954 and later moved to Australia with her daughter. She became a citizen there and remained until the 1980s. She then married a man from Arkansas named Geary Danley, a FedEx auditor. Danley and Paddock started dating in 2013 when she was legally separated from Geary. She stayed married to Geary until 2015 after she officially filed for divorce.
Danley’s daughter, Sheila, is not speaking with the press. Any messages that have been left for her have been redirected to the offices of Lombard.
Danley’s former stepdaughters remembered her fondly. “She’s probably one of the happiest, outgoing, full-of-life people I’ve ever known,” said Dionne Waltrip, one of her former stepdaughters. “Everyone who has ever met her likes her.”
The Washington Post spoke with a neighbour, John Heidenreich, who lived near Geary and Marilou when they were still married and living in Nevada in 2002. At the time, Marilou was working as a hostess in the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno. Heidenreich said they seemed like a great couple.
Neighbours of the couple when they were living in Reno described Paddock as being standoffish but Danley as being very kind. Neighbours in Mesquite shared the same sentiment, calling Paddock someone who rarely spoke to anyone while Danley was the opposite.
Paddock’s brother, Eric, told reporters that Stephen and Marilou had met in the casino while she was working there. Eric described their relationship as a loving one, where Stephen had shown Marilou respect but others disagree.
The Los Angeles Times spoke with Esperanza Mendoza, supervisor of the Starbucks inside the Virgin River Casino in Mesquite, who said that Paddock was often rude to Danley when they came in. He often spoke down to her and behaved this way more often than not.
When it came to Paddock’s attack, Danley’s family believes that she remained unaware. Danley’s sister believes that she may have been more taken aback by Paddock’s crimes than anyone. “She probably was even more shocked than us because she is closer to him than us. You know, to be able to find out the person you love and live with can do such a thing? And you thought you know the person yourself.”
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