Vegas shooter’s Filipina girlfriend could provide answers
What will Marilou Danley say?
The 62-year-old Filipino live-in companion of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock, is the person everyone wants to talk to.
Danley, who was married and divorced to an American whose name she kept, has lived in the U.S. for many years, despite holding an Australian passport.
She arrived on a Philippine Airlines jet to Los Angeles on Tuesday night and was met by the FBI.
Everyone has questions
What did she know about Paddock’s state of mind when she left days before Paddock checked into the Mandalay Bay?
What did she know about his arsenal of assault weapons at their home in Mesquite, Nevada, and did she have any inkling Paddock was contemplating the biggest massacre ever in U.S. history?
As Donald Trump would say, it was like nothing we’ve ever seen before.
Except in war, which is why people at the Route 91 harvest music festival thought they were hearing firecrackers like at a Chinatown restaurant.
But they weren’t firecrackers. They were automatic gun bursts. About nine minutes worth, enough to leave 50 dead and over 500 injured.
Maybe Danley can help authorities find a motive as she emerges from her trip to Asia. That’s why I hope she lawyers up.
The authorities have no idea what happened because they are not set up to catch good people who do bad things.
And what was Paddock? A man with no criminal past, no affiliations with terrorists, racists. He was a gun lover, a hunter, who loved the thrill of gambling.
But most of all, he was wealthy and white.
The gun shop owner who sold the legal weapons did not see any red flags when Paddock bought his weapons. There was nothing in his background to prevent him from stocking up with guns and scopes and conversion kits for semi-automatic weapons to emulate a fully automatic machine gun.
It’s the one thing that differentiates this attack from others and allowed Paddock to kill so many.
In the U.S. gun laws are state-by-state propositions, and Nevada’s are biased toward gun owners.
Still, you know this wouldn’t have happened if Paddock had any sort of record, or had a funny sounding name, or was a Muslim, or was a person of color.
And that is why I worry for Marilou Danley.
Officials have nothing. But they have her.
On Tuesday, the FBI leaked to news sources that Paddock had wired $100,000 to the Philippines. They didn’t say Danley, though it could have been.
Knowing he was going to shoot up the concert, Paddock may have been looking to provide for his live-in mate and her family in advance. Pictures on social media put Paddock eating kamayan-style by hand in the Philippines.
Maybe he cared for her family? We don’t know. The authorities will find out something.
At first described as a roommate, it’s pretty clear from Paddock’s brother Eric’s statements, Danley is much more. Does” girlfriend” adequately describe a relationship that may have insights as to how and why the crime was committed?
So far, Danley, who was in the Philippines during the shooting, and is not a suspect, remains the only solid “person of interest.”
She’s not going to be allowed to get off easy saying she had a few balikbayan boxes for family to deliver to the Philippines.
In the meantime, so many people around the world saw her pictures spread on the internet this week, many were hoping she was not Filipino.
“She’s Indonesian,” one person told me.
Another said, “Of Malay ethnicity.”
Denial? Or false Filipino pride wanting to deflect bad news?
Her Filipino-ness was of interest to me because I know the Las Vegas community to be the home of one of the largest Filipino communities in the U.S.
I have family there.
it was the first name that was the dead giveaway–Marilou.
It’s in the grand tradition of all the Filipino Martesses, Marivics, and MaryLizs you have known.
Right now, Danley could use a few prayers to Mary, mother of God, herself.
She is said to be coming back to the U.S. as early as Wednesday.
Let’s hope she has decent lawyers who will let her know her rights, especially that anything she says can and will be used against her. Perhaps Danley’s best tack? Say as little as possible.
When they officially talk, authorities will be trying to get everything they can while they can.
Is she a co-conspirator? Or just an innocent girlfriend?
She’s all law enforcement officials have so far to help solve the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history.
And so now we have a real historic moment. When the whole world is waiting to hear what this Filipina says.
Emil Guillermo is an award-winning journalist and commentator. He writes from Northern California.
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