H■ By Rusty Strait / Senior Reporter
e’s a Hollywood private investigator who is known as the real Ray Donovan, although he might pop up on any given occasion in New York or New Orleans or maybe Nevada. That’s how he works. He’s the real deal. I know that because I’ve worked with him for many years on various cases. At his request, I will not use his name at this time.
While I was working on deadline for this week’s edition of the Chronicle, he called me. Like everyone else, he’s been watching and reading about Stephen Paddock, the person who allegedly killed 58 innocent people and wounded more than 500 concert-goers from the 32nd floor windows of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino before turning one of his guns on himself, ending the carnage through suicide.
My sleuth believes there is a missing link in what has been reported by the investigators. So he has created what might be considered a checklist by the killer. (1) Paddock sent his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, to the Philippines; (2) Paddock sent her $127,000, and (3) what’s come out of the private investigator’s own poking around.
There are a number of small towns, more or less clustered between Las Vegas and Stephen Paddock’s home in Mesquite, Nevada. So it seemed reasonable to my friend that Paddock might have stopped there during his trips back and forth from his home and Las Vegas where he often went to gamble.
Thinking outside the box, as any good private eye does, my guy made some phone calls to the area and bingo, one of the four places he called in Overton, Nevada was loaded with pay dirt. Mark, one of the owners of Overton’s Ace Hardware Store, believed Paddock was in the store recently but didn’t remember him buying anything. However, a regular customer knew Paddock and said he’d met Paddock at the groomer’s where Paddock took his dog. Could Mark put our anxious detective in touch with the friend who knew Paddock? You bet. So the investigator is going to Overton to speak personally to Mark’s friend.
Here’s the big “if” or whatever you want to call it. With all the feds and Nevada gendarmes chasing pie in the sky trying to figure this guy out, nobody has mentioned Paddock owning a dog. That’s No. 3 on the checklist. What happened to the dog or dogs? Even the best sometimes overlook the clues right under their noses.
If this turns out to be a missing link in this case, remember – you heard about it first from the Chronicle and I’ll be pushing to find out what, if anything, turns up. It just seems strange somebody wouldn’t have thought to question folks along the route from Mesquite to Las Vegas, don’t you think?