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Marilou Danley says she feared a breakup, not a mass shooting

Updated October 4, 2017 - 6:46 pm

When Stephen Paddock sent her home to the Philippines last month and wired her money to buy a house, Marilou Danley was afraid he was breaking up with her.

“It never occurred to me in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone,” Danley said Wednesday in a statement read by her attorney in front of the FBI field office in Los Angeles.

“I knew Stephen Paddock as a kind, caring, quiet man. I loved him and hoped for a quiet future together with him,” she said in the statement. “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’s first public statements on Sunday night’s deadly attack on the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas came one day after she returned to the United States to answer questions from investigators about her boyfriend.

Authorities say Paddock, 64, of Mesquite systematically strafed concertgoers with an arsenal of high-powered weaponry from a room at Mandalay Bay before killing himself.

In the statement read by attorney Matthew Lombard, Danley said she has been cooperating with authorities. “I voluntarily flew back to America because I know the FBI and the Las Vegas police department wanted to talk to me, and I want to talk to them,” she said in the statement.

Messages left for Lombard and the FBI field office in Los Angeles were not returned Wednesday.

Shortly after Paddock killed 58 people and wounded more than 480 others before shooting himself, the Metropolitan Police Department identified Danley as a person of interest in the investigation and asked the public to help locate her. They later said that she had been out of the country for several weeks but that investigators still wanted to interview her.

Earlier Wednesday, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo confirmed that the 62-year-old woman would be questioned at the FBI’s offices in Los Angeles rather than in Las Vegas.

Danley and Paddock shared a home in Mesquite, 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, and another home in a northwest Reno neighborhood for retirees.

Susan Page moved in next door to the couple’s Reno home in July. She said she saw both Paddock and Danley in July and August, but didn’t interact with them beyond the occasional hello.

Page said she never saw her neighbors with any firearms.

The last time she saw Paddock at all was in mid-August. A week or so later, Page said, she saw Danley pack up her small SUV and leave.

Her reaction to the shooting: “Shock. Just total, total shock,” she said. “It’s just unbelievable, unbelievable.”

In an interview with Australia’s Channel 7 TV network, her sisters — their faces obscured and their names withheld — described Danley as “a good person” who would’ve stopped Paddock had she been there.

“She was sent away,” one sister said. “She was away so that she will be not there to interfere with what he’s planning. In that sense, I thank him for sparing my sister’s life.”

Danley described it this way in Wednesday’s statement: “A little more than two weeks ago, Stephen told me he’d found a cheap ticket for me to the Philippines, and 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 that first the unexpected trip home and then the money was a way of breaking up with me.”

According to Reuters, Danley arrived in Manila on Sept. 15, flew to Hong Kong on Sept. 22 and returned in Manila on Sept. 25. She was traveling on an Australian passport but she was born in the Philippines.

Authorities say Paddock checked into a corner suite on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay on Thursday. He then hauled an arsenal of 23 firearms up to the room, broke out two windows and sprayed bullets into the crowd of about 22,000 people at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

The attack lasted between nine and 11 minutes, ending only when Paddock shot and killed himself as police closed in.

Contact Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350. Follow @RefriedBrean on Twitter. Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2904. Follow @BenBotkin on Twitter. Review-Journal writer Briana Erickson contributed to this report.

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