THE Filipina-Australian girlfriend of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock has returned to the US after staying for sometime in the Philippines, where she had received $100,000 from him before he massacred more than 50 people, authorities said on Wednesday.
Marilou Danley, 62, was met by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) eager to hear whatever she might know about the motive behind Paddock’s slaying of 58 people and wounding of more than 500 in the worst mass shooting in US history.
Although the FBI wants to talk to her, Danley is not in custody – she is classified as a “person of interest” to investigators – and is free to go wherever she wants, US media reported.
She was in the Philippines when Paddock opened fire with high-power rifles from a 32nd floor hotel room Sunday night at a sea of concertgoers below on the famed Las Vegas strip.
Authorities are investigating reports that while she was in the Philippines, Paddock wired her $100,000.
Holiday in Hong Kong
Red Marinas, Port Operations Division chief of the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI), said Danley boarded Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight PR102 at 9 p.m. on Tuesday.
Aviation websites showed that the PAL flight that Danley took landed in the US on Wednesday morning Philippine time, or Tuesday evening in Los Angeles.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said the FBI, its US counterpart, had sought help in finding Danley, 62.
“Danley arrived in the Philippines last month, and then there was a wire transfer to her account for $100,000 from Stephen,” NBI spokesman Nick Suarez told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
“The FBI has coordinated with the Philippine office of the Interpol to look for her,” he said.
Citing Danley’s travel record, Marinas said the Filipina, who became an Australian citizen, arrived in the Philippines on September 15 from Japan, flew to Hong Kong on September 22 and returned to the country on September 25.
Marinas stressed that the role of his office was “to help the US government to monitor the movement (of Danley) at the airport, and to give them information about a person who arrived from their homeland and left for United States.”
He added: “We don’t have authority over her [Danley] because the crime was committed in the US.”
Marinas said the US Homeland Security Department also informed the BI about Danley.
Danley is allegedly the girlfriend of Paddock, who trained automatic gunfire on hundreds of people attending a country music concert at the famed Las Vegas strip on Sunday, September 30. He then killed himself.
Paddock, a 64-year-old gambler and retired accountant, killed 58 people and injured at least 527 others when he used a vast arsenal of weapons to shoot at the concert from a Mandalay Bay hotel room.
Danley moved to the US 20 years ago to work on the casino strip, the Australian government confirmed Tuesday.
“There are reports her ID was used for booking the hotel or some such detail,” Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said.
“Australia will support the US authorities in their investigation in whatever way we can, but we have not had contact with Marilou Danley directly.”
Danley was reportedly born in the Philippines, although the Department of Foreign Affairs and Suarez said they could not confirm that.
with BENJIE L. VERGARA