Marilou Danley, a chatty extrovert who withdrew into Stephen Paddock's shadow

Marilou Danley arrived in Los Angeles on Tuesday (Sept 3).
Marilou Danley arrived in Los Angeles on Tuesday (Sept 3).PHOTO: REUTERS

MANILA - Ms Marilou Danley had been a chatty extrovert and a "great neighbour", fond of Zumba and travelling. her family members and neighbours say.

But that was before she moved in with Stephen Paddock, a Las Vegas gambler who on Sunday (Oct 1) killed 58 people and wounded over 500 in the bloodiest mass shooting in modern US history.

In recent years, while with Paddock, the petite, 62-year-old "proud mom and grandma" had become less neighbourly and had, on at least one occasion, endured insults from him as they queued for coffee at Starbucks, according to reports.

Ms Danley arrived in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, from the Philippines, where she had been since Sept 15. US law enforcers are hoping she, as a "person of interest", could shed light on Paddock's methodical plans to stockpile weapons and ferry them into a 32nd-floor hotel suite in Las Vegas to commit mass murder.

There was also the matter of US$100,000 (S$136,000) Paddock recently wired to her. News reports said it was for her life insurance.

'OUTGOING, FULL OF LIFE'

Her relatives and former neighbours recall Ms Danley as outgoing, someone easily liked.

"She's probably one of the most happy, outgoing, full-of-life people I've ever known. She is a good and gentle person. I know she has to be devastated by what has happened," said Ms Dionne Waltrip, Ms Danley's stepdaughter, in Arkansas.

Ms Danley married Ms Waltrip's father, Mr Geary Danley, and then moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1990. Their marriage lasted 25 years. Both had children from prior relationships.

Ms Danley had ties to the Philippines, where she was born, according to several news reports. She lived in Queensland, Australia, and was married there, before she married Mr Danley. They had a daughter and a granddaughter.

She sold clothes and jewellery for a living, and then retired with Mr Danley to Nevada in 2003.

"They were extremely happy. They loved each other very much," said Ms Waltrip.

At a hilltop subdivision in Sparks, Nevada, where the Danleys lived, neighbours described Ms Danley as a chatty extrovert. She hosted cookouts and brought copious amounts of Filipino food to the semi-annual block parties. She had the neighbour's kids sleep over at her two-storey home.

A former neighbour there said she lived a "normal life" with her "normal husband".

LIFE WITH PADDOCK

Ms Danley worked at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno from 2010 to 2013.

She met Paddock, a high-limit player, there.

In 2013, she left the Sparks community to live with Paddock at a condominium in Reno. Two years later, she divorced Mr Danley.

In Reno, she and Paddock stayed mostly indoor, their shades always drawn shut.

"It wasn't that they were unfriendly. They just didn't socialise," Ms Susan Page, the couple's next-door neighbour, told The York Times.

But on her own, as when she was in her Zumba fitness class, Ms Danley could be friendly.

She was also described as a "world traveler", going abroad several times a year to visit family in the Philippines, Los Angeles and Dubai.

With Paddock, Ms Danley had to do without perfume, hair spray and bubble baths because of his allergies.

He also could be exacting and imperious towards her.

Staff at a Starbucks store the couple frequented remembered Paddock appearing "rude" to her, not letting her order by herself.

At one instance, he glared down at her when she asked to use his casino card to order coffee, telling her: "You don't need my casino card for this. I'm paying for your drink, just like I'm paying for you".

But Paddock's youngest brother, Eric, said he doted on her.

"She was probably one of the only people I've ever seen that he'd go out of his way to do a little thing for. He went out of his way to be nice to her. This is not something Steve does - go out of his way," he said.

"Steve expected people to wait on him for the most part. But he waited on her sometimes. He would do what she wanted to do. He would defer to her in a way that he wouldn't do the rest of humanity."