Her fingerprints were on the ammunition. Her casino players’ card was found in his room. Investigators scoured her social media accounts and emails — one of which he, Stephen Paddock, had access to.
Marilou Danley may not have been present when Paddock unleashed a furious barrage of bullets down on a crowd of 20,000 at a Las Vegas country music festival, killing 58 people and wounding more than 500 others, but her links to his life seemed to be everywhere.
The facts about Danley were among the details revealed when a U.S. District Court judge in Las Vegas unsealed more than 300 pages of search warrants and affidavits at the request of several media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times. The request was unopposed by prosecutors.
But why the 64-year-old Paddock shot up the Route 91 Harvest festival on Oct. 1 remains a mystery, and the search warrants — despite revealing his large cache of weaponry — raise more questions than answers about his actions and motive.
Paddock came to Las Vegas with an arsenal — more than 20 firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition and spent casings were found in his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. Other search warrants revealed more than 1,000 rounds and 100 pounds of explosive material in his car.
Authorities also recovered 18 firearms and more than 1,000 rounds at Paddock’s house in Mesquite, Nev. A “large quantity of firearms” was recovered from another residence he had in Reno.
The search warrants also covered electronic accounts and social media accounts of Paddock and Danley. They revealed an exchange about a money wire transfer. Danley returned from a trip to the Philippines days after the shooting, but wasn’t arrested when she arrived in the United States.
According to an affidavit, Danley was identified early on “as the most likely person who aided or abetted Stephen Paddock based on her informing law enforcement that her fingerprints would likely be found on the ammunition used during the attack.”
In the court documents, she told investigators she occasionally participated in the loading of the magazines.
Danley has fully cooperated with authorities and has released statements saying she had no idea what Paddock was planning and that she was devastated by the massacre. She was never arrested, though was deemed “a person of interest” by police after the shooting. Her attorney could not be reached for comment.
Officials with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department did not return a request for comment.
Not much is known about Danley’s and Paddock’s relationship, though workers at a Starbucks in a Mesquite casino recalled that he had a habit of berating her in public. The abuse would come if she asked to use his casino card to make a purchase. Danley stood only elbow high to Paddock, a tall man with a beer belly.
Esperanza Mendoza, a supervisor at the Starbucks, told The Times in October: “He would glare down at her and say — with a mean attitude — ‘You don’t need my casino card for this. I’m paying for your drink, just like I’m paying for you.’ Then she would softly say, ‘OK,’ and step back behind him. He was so rude to her in front of us.”
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey said she saw no reason to keep the warrants sealed, especially since lawyers with the federal government did not oppose the unsealing, with some minor redactions. However, 10 pages were kept under seal pending a hearing in state court Tuesday.
Authorities also revealed in the court documents emails from Amazon to Paddock’s email account with his home in Mesquite as the destination. It showed that on Sept. 7, 2017, he received an email related to the purchase of a “EOTech 512 A65 Tactical Holographic firearm accessory.”
Amazon confirmed the delivery would go to his residence. “Investigators believe this piece of equipment was utilized in the attack carried out by Stephen Paddock,” the affidavit read.
The warrants released Friday also produced a puzzling email exchange that Paddock appeared to have with himself.
One instance where investigators identified two email account attached to him — [email protected] and [email protected] — an exchange began with “Try an ar before u buy. We have a huge selection. Located in the Las Vegas area.”
Later that day, an email was received back from [email protected] that read “we have a wide variety of optics and ammunition to try.”
Then Paddock sent an email to [email protected] that read: “for a thrill try out bumpfire ar’s with 100 round magazine.”
In the affidavit, investigators said they believed the communications may have been related to the eventual attack. Authorities have said Paddock used a “bump stock,” a device that can make semiautomatic guns mimic the rapid fire of automatic weapons.
But FBI investigators appeared perplexed by the exchange.
“Investigators have been unable to figure out why Stephen Paddock would be exchanging messages related to weapons that were utilized in the attack between two of his email accounts. Conversely, if the Target Account was not controlled by Stephen Paddock, investigators need to determine who was communicating with him about weapons that were used in the attack,” according to a warrant.
There was also a warrant that revealed Paddock’s room at Mandalay Bay had three cellphones. Two were unlocked, but “neither contained significant information that allowed investigators to determine the full scope of Stephen Paddock’s planning and preparation for the attack.”
The third phone, however, was unable to be unlocked, the affidavit said.
© 2018 Los Angeles Times
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