Las Vegas massacre distresses Filipino family in Cavite
DASMARIÑAS CITY — The gambler who shot and killed 58 people watching a concert on the Las Vegas Strip from his high-rise hotel room has also distressed the family of a 66-year-old faith healer in this city in Cavite province thousands of kilometers away.
Reynaldo Bustos only has an accidental link to the shooter Stephen Paddock — his younger sister, Marilou Danley — the killer’s 62-year-old girlfriend whom he had met in a casino in Reno, Nevada.
US authorities, who had initially tagged Danley as a person of interest, said Paddock had sent her to the Philippines to visit her family before he went on his rampage. Paddock also wired $100,000 to her while she was here, they said.
After he heard about the shooting, he immediately called his sister, Bustos told US TV network ABC.
“She said, ‘Relax, we shouldn’t worry about it. I’ll fix it. Do not panic. I have a clean conscience,’” ABC quoted Bustos in Filipino in an interview.
Bustos’ wife, Myla, said he left their home on Thursday and has not been heard from since, although the family had not reported him missing.
“I have no idea where my husband is. We lost contact with him. Even before (the Las Vegas shooting), he’s been complaining of some pain (in the chest) so I’m really worried about him,” Myla told the Inquirer late on Friday.
Myla was not home when Bustos left, but one of their children said a “patient” had picked him up from their house.
“But I have already gone to each of his patients and still could not find him,” she said.
Myla said that because of the Las Vegas shooting some of her children had to skip classes while she went out looking for her husband.
“We had to sleep last night in my friend’s home because there were too many people coming to our house,” the couple’s 11-year-old daughter said. In school, she said, the other children asked her “why (my) uncle did that?”
Motive still a mystery
Paddock apparently killed himself before the Las Vegas police stormed his hotel room, leaving his motive for the massacre a mystery to US investigators.
They patiently waited for Danley to shed some light. She returned to the United States from the Philippines on Tuesday and was immediately whisked away from the airport by FBI agents, who gave her time to rest before they interviewed her, according the US media reports.
She has issued a statement saying she was unaware of his plans and she also expressed sympathy for the victims.
Myla, 46, said they have never met Paddock and was upset about all the attention that her family was getting because of him.
The quiet and distant home of the Bustos family in Barangay Langkaan here was suddenly disturbed by foreign and local media men who came knocking on the tattered wooden door of their shack, looking for every bit of information that could give a clue to why Paddock mowed down those people in Las Vegas.
“We don’t know him (Paddock) at all and we have no involvement in any money. This is really something we are not expecting,” Myla told the Inquirer as she and her 16-year-old daughter waited for customers of their “balut” at their roadside spot.
“Whatever my husband had said, that’s it. That’s enough,” Myla said.
Another daughter, Jane, resented all the questioning.
“Our father is missing. He has a high blood pressure and all you people do is come here and ask us these questions. Please, we are not involved in anything,” she said. “We are not involved in any money.”
Jane, craddling her child, stood outside the one-story family home made of rough concrete blocks, making sure the door, which was just a thin sheet of wood, remained closed to reporters looking for her father.
Displayed on a wall at the Bustos home was a white board on which were written the price for his services like “hilot” (traditional massage), regular massage and “tawas,” a pseudomedicine for faith healing. He charges his patients a couple of hundred pesos per session.
Bustos and Myla have nine children. To augment the family income, Myla buys balut which she and one of her daughters resell nightly infront of a bakery on Cavite’s Governor’s Drive.
Their 11-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old grandaughter sell dried fish and “tinapa” near a small market daily after school until around 7:30 p.m.
The 11-year-old said they only saw Paddock on Facebook, but she said her father and her Aunt Marilou (Danley) were “close” to each other as they were born just a few years apart.
“She spoke in English but understood Tagalog,” she said of Danley.
She said she remembers her aunt’s former husband, a man surnamed Danley, and their daughter, “Ate Shiela, who did not speak Tagalog.”
Her brother said their aunt did not bring any presents when she visited them late last month. He just smiled when asked if she did not even bring chocolates.
Immigration authorities said Danley arrived in the Philippines on Sept. 25, barely a week before the Las Vegas massacre.
While in the country, Danley stayed most of the time with another sibling in Laguna, relatives said. She and Bustos have five other siblings.
The 11-year-old girl said her aunt was with them on Friday (Sept. 29) to celebrate a deceased cousin’s birthday in Laguna.
On Sunday (Oct. 1), Danley visited again “but stayed only for about an hour.”
“She (Danley) said she had to go back to Laguna to pack up,” the girl said.
The Bustoses’ neighbors were shocked when they learned about their relation to the shooter.
“They are good people,” said Leni Soriano, who sells fried chicken and ‘lumpia’ on the street. “Just look at those kids working hard to sell tinapa to help their parents,” she said.
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