Las Ve­gas Filipino-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity says Mar­ilou Dan­ley never reached out to them.

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - FRONT PAGE - By Rio La­can­lale Con­tact Rio La­can­lale at rla­can­lale@re­viewjour­nal. com or 702-383-0381. Fol­low @ri­o­la­can­lale on Twit­ter. The As­so­ci­ated Press con­trib­uted to this re­port.

Al­most a week after her boyfriend tar­geted thou­sands of con­cert­go­ers on the Strip, Mar­ilou Dan­ley re­mains a mys­tery in the city’s tight-knit Filipino com­mu­nity.

Com­mu­nity lead­ers said Fri­day the Mesquite woman was un­known to lo­cal Filipinos be­fore her name went vi­ral early Mon­day, when law en­force­ment named her a per­son of in­ter­est in the mas­sacre at the Route 91 Har­vest coun­try mu­sic fes­ti­val.

Even after it was re­vealed that she had been in the Philip­pines on Sun­day night when Stephen Pad­dock gunned down 58 peo­ple and in­jured nearly 500 at the fes­ti­val ad­ja­cent to Man­dalay Bay, her name con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate so­cial me­dia and news head­lines.

But in­stead of dis­tanc­ing the com­mu­nity from the 62-year-old Filip­ina, lo­cal lead­ers are ex­tend­ing a help­ing hand to Dan­ley, an Aus­tralian cit­i­zen by mar­riage.

“We don’t per­son­ally know her,” said Amie Bel­monte, the pres­i­dent of the lo­cal chap­ter of the Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of Filipino Amer­i­can Associations. “But right now, we don’t know all the de­tails, so we’re not here to judge her. What­ever help she may need, we’re here for her.”

‘We are all fam­ily’

The Filipino cul­ture, Bel­monte ex­plained, is known for its hos­pi­tal­ity and ded­i­ca­tion to fam­ily values.

“Every­one we get a chance to know be­comes fam­ily to us,” she said. “We take care of each other, and those values are also ex­tended into the greater com­mu­nity.”

Bernie Ben­ito, an­other ac­tive mem­ber in the lo­cal com­mu­nity and chair­man of the Fil-Am Al­liance of Ne­vada, echoed Bel­monte’s sen­ti­ments.

“Of course any­time a Filipino is in­volved, whether good or bad, it’s a big deal for us,” he ex­plained. “This hurts our pride a lit­tle bit, but we are all fam­ily.”

Dan­ley, who re­turned to the United States and was ques­tioned Wed­nes­day by FBI agents in Los An­ge­les, lived with Pad­dock about an hour north of Las Ve­gas. Bel­monte and Ben­ito both said any ac­tive mem­ber of the Filipino-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity liv­ing on the out­skirts of the val­ley would have ties to lo­cal Las Ve­gas or­ga­ni­za­tions.

“It’s un­usual for Filipinos to live in Mesquite be­cause there’s no real sense of Filipino com­mu­nity out there,” Bel­monte said. “So any­one liv­ing there would most likely have to reach out to us to get in­volved.”

Con­nected com­mu­nity

Na­dia Ar­royo, editor of the Philippine Times of South­ern Ne­vada, said that if Dan­ley had been in­volved in any lo­cal Filipino-Amer­i­can group, every­one in the com­mu­nity would know about it by now.

“We see each other all the time,” she said. “There’s no way we wouldn’t know her if she was an ac­tive mem­ber.”

On Wed­nes­day, in her first pub­lic state­ment, Dan­ley said she was wor­ried Pad­dock had sent her to the Philip­pines as a way of break­ing up with her.

“A lit­tle more than two weeks ago, Stephen told me he’d found a cheap ticket for me to the Philip­pines, and he wanted me to take a trip home to see my fam­ily,” she said in the state­ment. “Like all Filipinos abroad, I was ex­cited to go home and see fam­ily and friends.”

Aus­tralian po­lice are as­sist­ing on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the shooter’s girl­friend.

Mar­ilou Dan­ley

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