Girlfriend of Las Vegas killer tells: 'I had no idea'
THE woman said to be the girlfriend of the gunman who killed at least 59 people in Las Vegas over the weekend says that she was not aware that he was planning violence of any kind.
Marilou Danley returned to the United States after the shooting from a trip to the Philippines, and proceeded to meet with FBI agents in Los Angeles.
Authorities have said that she is a person of interest. A statement read by her lawyer indicated that she plans on fully cooperating with the FBI.
"I knew Stephen as a kind, caring, quiet man," the statement read. "I loved him and hoped for a quiet future together. 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."
Ms Danley returned to the US voluntarily after what she said was a trip that Stephen Paddock, the shooter, had paid for. He had sent her to the Philippines to spend time with her family. She was not arrested upon returning to the US.
The statement indicated that Paddock had purchased Ms Danley a ticket roughly two weeks ago, and had urged her to go visit her family.
He then wired her $100,000, the statement said, and told her to buy a home for her and her family.
She indicated in the statement that she was grateful for the money and excited to spend time with family and friends back home, but that she was worried that the money and plane flight were his way of breaking up with her.
"It never occurred to me in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone."
Ms Danley, 62, flew into Los Angeles from the Philippines, her home country, on Tuesday night and was met by FBI agents who took her out of a side exit to avoid waiting television crews.
Ms Danley was captured on footage broadcast by NBC News, being swiftly pushed on a wheelchair, using her left hand to keep a baseball cap pressed down on her head. A lawyer representing her told US media she was being treated as a witness.
Previously, Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo, who has called Ms Danley a "person of interest" in the attack, said that "we anticipate some information from her shortly". He said he was "absolutely" confident authorities would determine what led the 64-year-old to carry out the killings.
As police and investigative agents scramble for clues to explain what led the retired accountant to check into a well-positioned suite in a hotel overlooking a country music event, killing 58 people and injuring more than 500, they are increasingly hopeful his girlfriend of several years could help fill in some blanks.
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, speaking at a cybersecurity forum in Boston on Wednesday, said investigators were "reconstructing the life, the behaviour, the pattern of activity of [Paddock] and anyone and everyone who may have crossed his path in the days and the weeks leading up to this horrific event".
"This individual and this attack didn't leave the sort of immediately accessible thumbprints that you find on some mass casualty attacks," he said.
It is known that Ms Danley was in Asia on Sunday night, having arrived in the Philippines on 15 September.
The Associated Press reported that according to immigration documents, she left on 22 September then returned three days later on a flight from Hong Kong. She holds Australian citizenship and was travelling on an Australian passport.
Investigators believe that in the days before he opened fire from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino, Paddock had wired $100,000 to a bank account in the Philippines. It was not immediately clear if it was for her or members of her family.
Philippines immigration bureau spokeswoman Antonette Mangrobang said authorities there had been working with US officials.
"From the very beginning, we have been providing them necessary information that would aid their investigation," she told the AP.
Ms Danley's sisters believe Paddock sent her away so she would not interfere with his plans.
Australia's Channel 7 TV network interviewed the sisters with their faces obscured and their names withheld. They said they believe their sister could not have known about his ideas. They said Ms Danley was a "good person" who would have sought to stop him doing anything so staggering.
Speaking from her home on Australia's Gold Coast, one of the women said: "I know that she don't know anything as well, like us. She was sent away. She was sent away so that she will be not there to interfere with what he's planning."
She added: "In that sense, I thank him for sparing my sister's life."
Meanwhile, it was also reported Paddock had this summer been prescribed anti-anxiety medication that can cause aggression in some of those who take it.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal said it located records that showed he was given a prescription for 50 pills of diazepam, brand name Valium, in late June.
The Washington Post said Paddock met Ms Danley several years ago while she was working as a high-limit hostess for Club Paradise at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, Nevada, according to his brother Eric Paddock.
"They were adorable - big man, tiny woman. He loved her. He doted on her," said Eric Paddock.
It is known that Paddock travelled at least twice to the Philippines, where his girlfriend was born, according to a Filipino official who spoke to the AP.
The official said Paddock visited the Philippines in 2013 and 2014, around his birthday, staying for five to six days on both occasions. There were no immediate details available about those trips, according to the official.
Mr Lombardo said on Tuesday, on the eve of a visit to Las Vegas by President Donald Trump and the First Lady, that the investigation was proceeding cautiously in case criminal charges were warranted against someone else.
"This investigation is not ended with the demise of Mr Paddock," he said. "Did this person get radicalised unbeknownst to us? [If so]...we want to identify that source."