Marilou Danley has been characterized as the live-in girlfriend of Stehpen Paddock, the man who killed 59 people Sunday night at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. She quickly became a person of interest in the investigation, as law enforcement officials looked to her to provide information about Paddock, who killed himself when law enforcement officials closed in on his room in the Mandalay Bay hotel.
Danley has now opened up and described some behaviors that seem to support the idea that Paddock was suffering from some form of mental illness. Former FBI agents who are still close to the investigation have spoken on background and reported that Danley describes episodes where Paddock would lay in bed, moaning and others where he’d scream in his sleep.
“She said he would lie in bed, just moaning and screaming, ‘Oh, my God,'” one of the former officials told NBC.
Danley reportedly described these moments as “mental health symptoms.” Despite the symptoms, Danley still says she had no idea that any such attack was eminent.
Though Paddock’s mental health is clearly under scrutiny , officials have not yet named a clear motive. That he committed such a heinous crime is evidence of mental illness. That’s clear. Yet why he pulled the trigger remains a mystery.
There was some history of anxiety. Paddock had a prescription for Valium meant to help ease symptoms.
The quest for a motive is the single most significant way to begin future prevention efforts. The mental illness issue has two distinct paths. Could his actions have been an aspect of his illness? Or could his aggression have been a side-effect of the medication itself. Both are possible.
Yet the amount of planning that went into the shooting points at something larger. Paddock had clearly prepared for the shooting with the intent of killing as many people as he could. He also set up cameras to protect himself from the advance of law enforcement. And now officials are suggesting he intended to escape.
In advance of this shooting, Paddock also researched other locations. He scouted another concert in Las Vegas, and also researched similar locations and soft target opportunities in Chicago and in Boston.