Mormon Widower Doug Grant Wasnt Counting on a Murder Rap When He Followed His Late Wifes Instruction to Marry His Ex-Lover
On September 23, 2001, Faylene Grant wrote a letter to her husband Doug and his ex-girlfriend, Hilary DeWitt.
"I know I will be here with my body until it is buried," the 35-year-old Gilbert mother of four said. "I have held a secret hope and desire for several weeks that I would be able to see you both married, that I could be there!"
Faylene, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, continued, "For some reason, this desire for you to be married immediately and to see you sitting together as husband and wife at my funeral has been so strong . . . I pray that your home will be protected from the adversary [Satan] and filled with the Holy Ghost! I know it will be!"
First of two parts. Read Part Two here.
Faylene and Doug had been married less than two months this time, after having been divorced for a year. The couple were on their honeymoon when Faylene wrote her weird-sounding letter.
It had begun in Nauvoo, Illinois, a tourism mecca for Mormons in the western part of that state. Nauvoo was a refuge in the mid-1800s for LDS founder Joseph Smith and his followers.
Doug Grant, also 35, was the team nutritionist for the Phoenix Suns and owner of Optimal Health Systems, which markets vitamins, food supplements, and other health-related items.
The couple had five children between them — Faylene's two and Doug's one from previous unions, and their two young sons from their first, eight-year marriage.
Their remarriage in July 2001 astounded everyone who knew them. Faylene had sought the divorce because Doug had been unfaithful to her, including a longtime affair with a former beauty queen turned naturopathic physician.
The two remarried after whirlwind events that began at a business meeting in Dallas, moved to a Mormon Temple in San Diego, went (with their two youngest sons) to Disneyland, and ended in vows at the Excalibur Hotel Casino in Las Vegas.
One day after Faylene penned her letter to Doug and Hilary, she tumbled off a cliff at Timpanogos Cave National Monument, 40 miles south of Salt Lake City.
According to their separate accounts, Faylene had been calling for Doug to join her near the edge of a precipice when her knee buckled and she fell.
She landed about 60 feet below, but remarkably suffered only cuts and deep bruises, after a large pine tree apparently cushioned her fall.
Doug rushed down a path to his wife, believing, he said later, that he would find her dead.
But Faylene was conscious, though dazed and bleeding from the side of one eye.
Against her wishes, Doug took her to an emergency room in nearby American Fork. She was treated and released 90 minutes later with a fistful of pain pills.
The couple drove to the home of friends who live in the next town over, where Faylene rested for a few days.
One of the friends, a registered nurse named Becky Greer, later told a detective that Faylene had told her in a one-on-one conversation, "'I just fell, and I felt like I was floating and I didn't scream out.'"
She and Doug flew back to Arizona on the afternoon of September 26.
Back in Gilbert that day, Doug called Chad White to ask him to come by the house. Doug had met the physician assistant through White's brother Danny, the former ASU and Dallas Cowboys quarterback.
Chad White made a house call early that evening to check on Faylene, who was in great discomfort and unable to sleep after the terrible spill.
He gave her a shot for pain and wrote out several prescriptions, including one for the muscle relaxant Soma and another for five tablets of the sleep aid Ambien. White said later he had asked Doug to let him know before he filled the scrip for the Ambien.
But Doug, without telling White, soon went out to fill all the prescriptions, including the Ambien, as his parents, Lyle and Ione Grant, kept Faylene company.
Ione Grant later said in a deposition that she had chatted with Faylene about the fall while Doug was gone:
"She said, 'Mom, I was supposed to die up there,'" Mrs. Grant recalled.
Faylene never told her mother-in-law, or apparently anyone else, that her husband had pushed her over the edge.
Ione Grant volunteered to spend the night, but Faylene said she'd be okay and went to bed in the early evening.
Faylene was sleeping at about 8 p.m., when her 11-year-old daughter, Jenna, got home from a friend's house.
Jenna's younger half-brothers, Marley and Braven, ages 5 and 3, also were home.
Doug joined his wife in bed later that evening. He said later that she'd awakened in pain at some point, but was unsure whether she had taken one of the sleeping pills he'd picked up at the pharmacy.
Faylene urinated in the bed at some point, and she got up to take a bath.
Doug also said that he fell asleep for a while after he heard his wife drawing the bath.
At 7:46 a.m., a 911 operator based in Mesa took a cell phone call from physician assistant White.
"I just got a distress call from a friend of mine who just called me," White said. "I don't know if he's already called you. He said his wife is unconscious, and she took all of the medicine he had."
White said he was phoning from his car on his way to the Grants' home, about 10 minutes away.
"His wife, I think she overdosed. I couldn't understand [him]; he was frantic. He told me to get over there because I'm a PA, and I told him to call 911, and he said, 'I'm afraid to, I'm afraid to.' I don't know why he said that."
The operator dispatched paramedics to East Michelle Way, to a 2,200-square-foot home in a tidy neighborhood near Greenfield and Baseline.
White beat the paramedics there by a few minutes.
Faylene Grant lay naked on her back on the king-size bed, apparently not breathing. She was soaking wet, as was everything around her.
White felt for a pulse but didn't find one. He performed CPR, though the unconscious woman expelled water and vomit with almost each chest compression.
As White worked on Faylene, Doug wailed that he had fallen asleep shortly after she went to take her bath.
"Doug was kneeling down next to her, just frantically bawling and crying," White later told a police detective.
The paramedics soon took over, and rushed Faylene to Valley Lutheran Hospital in Mesa, where she clung to life for several hours, as friends and family members, including Doug, held vigil.
At 4:37 p.m., doctors took Faylene Grant off life support and she died.
It had been just one month since she handed her former and current husband Doug an "anniversary" letter.
"This has been, by far, the happiest month, as we've been one and committed to being one with our Savior and Heavenly Father," she had written. "You are my King and my love is TRUE through the good and the bad! I will be with you ALWAYS!"
Douglas D. Grant is scheduled to go on trial October 20 at Maricopa County Superior Court, in downtown Phoenix, for the first-degree murder of Faylene.
The Grant case includes marital infidelity (on Doug's part), wild religious revelations, an admitted liar of a police snitch, and, ultimately, scant evidence against the defendant.
Doug Grant is facing at least 25 years in prison if a jury convicts him, which is eminently possible.
How things got to this point: the persistence of Faylene's family and a Gilbert police detective, and Doug's stupidity in marrying a gorgeous 19-year-old just one month after his wife was buried — even if Faylene had "instructed" him to in that bizarre "goodbye" letter.
Central to the case is controversial Gilbert cop Sy Ray, who tried to keep evidence favorable to Doug Grant from defense attorneys, prosecutors, and two grand juries.
Ray also tainted many witnesses in the case by revealing to them his own skewed version of what allegedly happened to Faylene.
Some witnesses later admitted to having changed their minds (and their accounts, in one key instance) about Doug Grant's guilt after hearing the detective's spiel.
The plot line in this high-profile case (two network TV shows plan to air one-hour episodes) is exceptional:
Faylene divorces her second husband, Doug, because of repeated infidelities.
Though she's expressed suicidal thoughts on and off for years, she begins to experience revelations from God that she is going to die soon of unspecified causes.
The revelations become so powerful in early 2001 that she tells a close friend she fears getting too close to a new love interest because she doesn't want him to be a young widower.
Doug is excommunicated from the LDS church for his infidelities against Faylene, and for having sex out of wedlock with his Mormon girlfriend, Hilary DeWitt.
But God "tells" her that summer to reunite with her ex, who is game despite his ongoing serious relationship with 19-year-old Hilary.
But the remarriage, though seemingly happy for Faylene, doesn't curb her fatalistic thoughts.
She makes it her disturbing mission to ensure that her husband and Hilary will reunite and marry after she dies.
Faylene Grant convinces herself that she will be able to help her loved ones on Earth after she dies, specifically her beloved children, husband, and Hilary.
Faylene writes in her journals that she will await Doug and Hilary's arrivals in the Celestial Kingdom, the highest of the three levels of Heaven in Mormon theology.
There, the trio will live eternally as husband and wives. (Those who commit murder are not allowed in the Celestial Kingdom under Mormon doctrine, but those who commit suicide may find their way there if God sees fit).
Faylene's later journal entries suggest she was ambivalent about her approaching death because she was happy on Earth.
But she reckoned that dying would be for the greater good, especially if she could be assured that Hilary — whom she had known and trusted for years — soon would serve as a mother to her beloved children.
Faylene began to deluge Hilary with letters and phone calls soon after she remarried Doug. She assumed a role as a kind of spiritual mentor to the young woman, whose heart had been broken when the divorced couple remarried.
Hilary, who is also Mormon, soon bought into the extraordinary notion that she was to assume the role as Doug's earthly mate immediately after God took Faylene.
Doug also spoke often with Hilary by phone after the breakup, though no evidence exists that the two ever saw each other again until after Faylene's death.
Among Faylene's other articluated revelations was that Doug and Hilary would have a baby girl together, the daughter Faylene long believed she'd be having someday.
She called the unborn baby "Nicolle."
Rather than seek mental help for his wife, Doug seemingly got caught up in his wife's death obsession.
"It just touched me," she wrote in a September 5 journal entry, "that this is another reason I must have faith in Doug's vision (he dreams it every night now), that I will get to go to the Celestial Kingdom because this is where [baby] Nicolle is in the pre-existence."
An LDS tract explains pre-existence: "We were first begotten as spirit babies in Heaven and then born naturally on Earth."
(Indeed, Hilary would give birth to a baby girl with Doug on July 8, 2003. They named the child Nevaeh, which is heaven spelled backwards.)
A few weeks before she died, Faylene made elaborate plans in her journal for her own funeral service.
The plans included the introduction of Hilary to the world as Doug's new (or soon-to-be) wife, though that never did happen at the actual service.
"I am choosing to give up the life I have that is perfectly the way I want it!" she wrote at the time. "I finally have a husband who treats me with love and respect that is even beyond what I could dream of!"
Faylene Grant's death obsessions couldn't have come as any surprise to her family.
Her mother, Glenna Eaves, told Gilbert Detective Sy Ray in 2002, "Faylene told me almost a year ago, when Doug and her were splitting up or after the divorce . . . on two different occasions, that she wouldn't be here long. And I just laughed it off. 'You don't believe stuff like that.'
"I just told her, 'I don't know anyone as good as you, Faye, and you've got these little kids. You're gonna be here a long time.' And then I just let it go. But, she had those feelings, you know."
Faylene had repeated similar thoughts to her younger half-sister Jody just a few weeks earlier.
However, Faylene's family and friends insist she never would have killed herself, saying that suicide would have kept her from passage into the Celestial Kingdom.
But LDS officials contacted by New Times suggest otherwise, pointing to a definitive comment on the subject by the late Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
"Suicide is a sin — a very grievous one," he wrote. "Yet the Lord will not judge the person who commits that sin strictly by the act itself. The Lord will look at that person's circumstances and the degree of his accountability at the time of the act."
Precisely how Faylene believed she might die remained a mystery.
Veteran prosecutor Juan Martinez is about to argue in court that Doug Grant killed her in the first degree.
Doug Grant's suspected motive for murder has evolved over the years.
Police in 2002 latched onto the time-tested motive of money, claiming Doug stood to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in life insurance and other funds after Faylene died.
The benefits were not nearly as extensive as first believed, though Doug did collect $300,000 in life insurance as the sole beneficiary of Faylene's policy.
A onetime pal of Doug's later provided the cops with another money-related motive. Jim McElyea told authorities in 2005 that Doug feared Faylene would leave him again, saddling him with about $2,700 in renewed monthly child support and spousal maintenance payments.
McElyea snitched for the police to avoid his own prosecution after getting caught trying to bribe Faylene's family. He had promised the Eaves family information about Doug's supposed murder confession to him in return for $10,000.
In 2006, McElyea recanted most of his account in an interview with New Times.
"Doug is an asshole, but I can't honestly say if he did or didn't kill Faylene, who was a real sweet lady," McElyea said. "I definitely got the feeling that the detective [Sy Ray] wanted Doug to be strung up on a post, and he didn't care how he got there. I wish I never had gotten involved in any of this."
(It's uncertain whether prosecutors will call McElyea — a linchpin of the state's case at one time — to the stand).
The prosecution now seems to hinge on the premise that Doug Grant is a sex fiend whose outsized libido was the prime catalyst for committing first-degree murder.
Prosecutor Martinez is likely to suggest that Doug realized he had made a mistake by breaking up with Hilary to return to the less-attractive Faylene.
He will try to paint Doug Grant as a coldly calculating wife killer who overdosed Faylene with Ambien and then probably held her head under the water in the bathtub until she was drowned.
With Faylene floating in the tub, according to the state's latest theory, Doug then casually made breakfast for one of his sons while his 11-year-old stepdaughter Jenna — a key witness for the prosecution — got ready for school.
Doug then pretended to "find" Faylene, yanked her out, and carried her to the bed, after which he rushed the kids out to a neighbor's house.
Doug then acted out the "phony" rescue scene, which included the call to physician assistant Chad White, but neglected somehow to call 911 in the process.
If the sex-fiend theory sounds flimsy, think again:
Defendants, guilty or innocent, can be convicted simply because jurors don't like them.
And the panel certainly may not cozy up to the likes of a Doug Grant, especially if it believes the testimony of Kari Handley, a second cousin and onetime good friend of Hilary's.
Handley is expected to say that Hilary told her (in the presence of Hilary's sister Holly) at a luncheon just one day after Faylene died that she and Doug had met in a park the previous night.
According to Handley, Hilary told her that Doug had greeted her by grabbing her hips and saying, "God, I missed those."
Handley also recalled Hilary telling her that Doug had insisted that Hilary "wait" for him after his remarriage to Faylene. If true, this suggests Doug knew his wife wouldn't be around for long.
Also, by Handley's account, Doug had told Hilary after his remarriage to watch a 1995 movie about King Arthur called First Knight, which depicted how his own quirky love triangle was meant to end.
In the movie, the character Doug identifies with winds up in a relationship with the character he identifies with Hilary, and the Faylene character dies.
Hilary continually has denied the "hips" and the "wait for me" comments, and her sister has backed her under oath.
Someone is lying.
But Hilary has admitted meeting Doug in the park a few days after Faylene died, where he showed her Faylene's "desire for you to be married immediately" letter and gave her several hundred dollars in cash.
Under any circumstance, jurors are not likely to appreciate a narcissistic Lothario who (guilty or not) proposed marriage to his ex-girlfriend just two weeks after his wife died and then wed her before the first mourning flowers at Faylene's burial site had wilted.
Juan Martinez is as comfortable and aggressive in a courtroom as is his counterpart, Mel McDonald, the former Superior Court judge and United States Attorney who has served as Doug's defense lawyer since the summer of 2005.
But this is the rare case in which the prosecutor, not the defense, will have to throw curveballs at jurors to deflect attention from the myriad weaknesses of their evidence.
The battle royal is right around the corner.
Gilbert police did little at first to investigate the tragic incident on East Michelle Way.
Officers took just five photographs inside the home on the morning of September 28, 2001, and spoke only perfunctorily to Doug Grant and other family members.
A few days after his wife's death, Doug met at his home with members of his and Faylene's family.
He turned over the "goodbye" letters Faylene had left behind for many of them, in which she thanked them for loving her and told them everything would be fine.
At Faylene's well-attended funeral in Mesa, her half-brother Douger Eaves described how Faylene had visited the LDS temple just about every day during the previous months.
"This is where she kept her sanity," Douger said. "She was either smiling or crying; there was no in between."
Douger said his sister "deserves where she is. She is very happy, I know that . . . Heavenly Father has a plan, and this is part of it."
Faylene's mother, Glenna Eaves, said at the funeral, "I know that Doug loved her. I'm so grateful that her mission wasn't complete until she got her family back together."
Doug Grant spoke near the end of the service.
"These last two months have been the most incredible months of my life," he said, his voice breaking. "It's been absolutely like living with an angel."
All remained outwardly friendly for a while after Faylene was buried.
But as months passed, some members of the Eaves family began to seriously question the circumstances of her death, and the fall a few days before that in Utah.
"As we got back to Earth, my gosh, it hit all of us. I mean, we all had questions," Glenna Eaves told Detective Sy Ray in early 2002.
Her husband, Doug Eaves, added in the same interview, "We know as sure as the world that [remarriage with Faylene] was more than he could stand. I'm sure it just turned into a hatred."
Unquestionably, the signal event that forever turned the Eaves family against Doug Grant was his marriage to ex-girlfriend Hilary DeWitt, exactly one month after Faylene's funeral.
Everyone in Faylene's immediate family knew Hilary, a striking and sweet-natured young woman.
In October 2000, after Faylene filed for divorce from Doug, her brother Douger had hired Hilary as a receptionist at Grant's company, Optimal Health Systems.
Then based in Mesa, OHS was a family affair. Two of Faylene's siblings, a sister-in-law, and her parents continued to work there, even after she and Doug split up.
The Eaves family knew that Doug had started to date Hilary sometime after she hired on there.
But Doug also continued to play the field. He paid a fee to the Web site LDSSingles.com for months after asking Hilary out.
Yet the relationship with Hilary blossomed over time. She spoke of marrying Doug, which baffled some of her friends and relatives, including Kari Handley, the woman who later repeated the alleged "hips" and "wait for me" comments to police.
Handley told attorney Mel McDonald, in an interview last year, that she'd told Hilary, "He's like a little man. He's old. He's bald. Why? You're beautiful."
Handley said Hilary had replied, "He's sexy and powerful."
Hilary was crushed when Doug abruptly remarried Faylene in July 2001. She punched him in the chest when he broke the news to her, quit her job at OHS, and returned to her parents' home in northern Arizona.
The Eaves family wouldn't learn until after Faylene's death that she'd urged Doug and Hilary to unite as an "earthly" couple after she died.
But they didn't buy it for a second.
Faylene's stepfather, Doug Eaves, told Detective Ray in 2002, "There's no way that any dead woman is gonna make a man feel guilty enough to make a commitment like that in the first place unless he wants to . . . I mean, on this Earth, she could never make him do anything."
The Eaves family also started to wonder about the money Grant stood to collect as a result of his wife's demise. They came to believe that he could collect $860,000 in life insurance money and another $100,000 from Faylene's share of a court settlement in a case involving Doug's company.
Those numbers were exaggerated. The couple had sought to boost Faylene's life insurance from $300,000 to $860,000 shortly before she died (Faylene, not Doug, was pushing the increase, according to their insurance agent, Doug Grant's brother Vaughn).
But Faylene hadn't taken the mandatory medical exam, and the new policy hadn't gone into effect before she died.
Faylene's share from the civil suit was about $12,500 after attorney fees, not $100,000.
A few months after Faylene died, her sister Cherlene Patterson spoke with the Gilbert detective then heading the investigation.
She said Chad White, the physician assistant and an old high school friend, had told her that Doug had been "adamant" about getting a prescription for sleeping pills for Faylene just before she died.
White denied that and has repeatedly told police that he wrote the Ambien prescription after consulting with Doug and Faylene.
But he also said he told Doug not to fill the Ambien scrip without first informing him, which Doug failed to do.
Cherlene became increasingly vocal about her brother-in-law's alleged criminal complicity in her sister's death. She told Gilbert authorities in early 2002 that she had been having dreams related to Faylene's death.
"It was very, very real to me, almost like a revelation and a vision and just knowing that she was murdered," Patterson said in early 2002. "He's sick. He's evil.
Patterson had worked as a bookkeeper for Doug at OHS for years. But she and the other Eaves family members quit in February 2002, as the investigation into Faylene's death was gaining momentum.
By then, the family had won over an invaluable ally at the Gilbert Police Department, Detective Sy Ray, who had assumed control of the case.
Both Doug Grant and Faylene Eaves were born into close-knit and devout LDS families.
Doug was the youngest of four children born to Lyle and Ione Grant in tiny Pima, in Graham County about three hours southeast of Phoenix.
Lyle Grant, who died earlier this year at the age of 92, was one of that area's most revered citizens, a World War II hero and longtime county recorder.
Faylene was the eldest of Glenna Eaves' two daughters with her first husband. Glenna got divorced when the two girls were young and remarried Mesa's Doug Eaves, with whom she had two children, Douger and Jody.
Doug Grant spent his early years in Pima, where the three C's — copper, cotton, and convicts (the latter referring to prison facilities in nearby Safford) — dominate.
He moved to Mesa in his senior year to attend Westwood High, where he took note of Faylene Eaves, a slim, dark-haired beauty with an omnipresent smile and bubbly demeanor.
The two never dated and went their separate ways after graduation in 1983, Faylene to BYU-Hawaii for a year and Doug to Montana on a two-year LDS mission.
Doug hardly was about to follow the spiritual path of his brother Vaughn, who is now an LDS bishop. Doug always had a hankering for earthly pleasures, especially women and more women.
To the contrary, Faylene's powerful faith in God had dominated her life since childhood.
"Growing up, my Mom worried so much about me, thinking I was too deep and a fanatic," Faylene wrote to Hilary shortly before she died. "She was concerned out of love. She didn't know how sincere and deep my desire was to do the things the prophets and scriptures ask us to do."
Faylene made her major life decisions only after fasting and spending endless hours praying, usually at the sprawling LDS temple in Mesa.
One decision in the mid-1980s was to marry Curt Stradling, with whom she had two children, Austin and Jenna.
Faylene seemed as though she would be the last person to divorce a spouse. But she did in 1992, after asking God whether it was the right thing to do.
Doug went through his own divorce around that time, from first wife Temberly, with whom he had son Bowen.
In the early 1990s, Doug began consulting with then-Phoenix Suns chief Jerry Colangelo on nutritional issues. That led to a handshake deal with Colangelo for a gig as a salaried nutritionist for the professional basketball team. The arrangement lasted about a decade.
In early 1993, Doug (then separated from Temberly) saw an attractive woman in her late 20s walk into a fitness center he then owned in Mesa.
Faylene Eaves Stradling always had been athletic — she was a dedicated gymnast as a teenager — and she was there for a workout.
Doug recognized Faylene as the girl with the big smile from years earlier at Westwood High. He struck up a conversation with her, which led to a date.
Doug's divorce from Temberly became final in May 1993. He and Faylene were married in an LDS temple in Mesa on September 9.
Faylene later would give birth to two boys, Marley and Braven.
Doug split from one health-products firm in the late 1990s and started his own company, Optimal Health Systems.
His second marriage was far from idyllic. Despite the LDS proscription against infidelity — "Next to the sin of murder comes the sin of sexual impurity" — Doug later admitted to having cheated on Faylene from early in the union.
It's impossible to know the extent to which Doug's dalliances, which Faylene long suspected, affected her mental health. But she did express suicidal thoughts in her journals as early as 1995, two years after she and Doug got married.
"The reason I've felt suicidal," Faylene later wrote in July 2000, another time she mentioned harming herself, "is I've been taking on EVERYONE'S opinions, behavior, criticisms as MY problem."
Another of her journal entries around that time bears scrutiny:
"What if I were on a plane and an emergency situation came up? What if I hadn't listened to the pre-flight instructions and thus it took me too long to learn them now in this present time of need to save my life and what if I died?
"Some may say my death was punishment for not listening or . . . just a coincidental happening resulting from the fact that I didn't listen and therefore couldn't save my life in time. But I say simply, it was my purpose to die at that time or these circumstances would not have led to my death — some other circumstances would have led to the continuation of my life."
Perhaps, if Doug Grant isn't guilty, Faylene didn't intend to kill herself by taking the Ambien before she drowned. Instead, akin to her fantasy about dying on the plane, she simply swallowed the pills, stepped into the bathtub, and put the rest in God's hands.
Doug Grant and Sy Ray are kindred spirits in some ways. Both are bound by ambition, ego, and a gift of patter that has held them in good stead in their professions.
A week after Sy Ray joined the Grant case as an investigator at the start of 2002, another detective interviewed Faylene's daughter Jenna for the first time. Three months had passed since that dreadful September morning at the home on East Michelle Way.
Speaking rapidly, the bright sixth-grader said she had awakened at 7:15 a.m. for school on the fateful day.
Jenna said Doug already had been up and in the kitchen, "probably" getting some food for one of her little brothers when she went to take a shower.
About 7:45, Jenna said Doug told her, in an obvious state of panic, to grab the boys and take them over to a neighbor's.
"I didn't know what happened, though I knew it had something to do with Mom," she told the detective.
He asked Jenna about the relationship between her mother and Doug.
"My step-dad was really, really nice to my mom," she said. "Treated her like a queen . . . He was really glad that they got back together, and they never fought."
The interview was something of a bombshell for the Gilbert police. Doug Grant never had said a word to them about having been in the kitchen with his son.
Sy Ray soon had a second interview with Jenna. A recording of that interview shows that Jenna repeatedly said she didn't recall much about that morning precisely, or at all.
She couldn't remember, for example, whether Doug had been wet (from pulling Faylene out of the tub) when he'd sent them from the house, though she tended to think he hadn't been.
However, when Detective Ray appeared before a grand jury three years later, his recounting of his interview with Jenna made her sound far more definitive.
"She specifically, without a doubt, recalls not only seeing Doug in the kitchen that morning [but] also talking to him," Ray testified.
"When I asked her how she could be sure it was that day that she was remembering, not some other day she is confusing, she began crying, explaining to me that [it was] the morning that her mother dies."
Nowhere on the videotape and separately recorded audiotape of Ray's interview with Jenna does she claim to possess such clarity.
At the end of January 2002, detectives Ray and Palmer paid a surprise visit to Doug Grant at home. Grant repeated his account of the events of several months earlier — showing them how he'd found Faylene in the tub. The cops left after a few hours.
A few days after that interview, the Medical Examiner's Office issued its official findings in the case, concluding that the cause of Faylene's death was Ambien intoxication and drowning, the manner of death "undetermined."
Dr. Arch Mosley, a pathologist who now works in Coconino County, could have called her death a homicide, suicide, accident, or because of natural causes, but he didn't.
He tells New Times that no one has brought anything to his attention since since then that indicates the manner should be ruled anything but "undetermined."
"If I had been presented with anything compelling to change it, I would have," Mosley says.
The testing of Faylene's blood turned up only the Ambien — about five times the recommended dosage — which was curious because police at the scene had noted that the bottle of the recently filled prescription for the muscle relaxant Soma also was missing four pills.
(Where the Soma pills went is a mystery. Also, the cops apparently lost all the pill bottles seized at the Grants' home and never collected any of Faylene's vomit for testing, among other investigative errors.)
Detective Ray first met with physician assistant Chad White in March 2002. According to an audiotape of the interview, White told him:
"When I was giving her CPR, [Doug] kept saying, 'I'm so sorry. I gave her a sleeping pill and then she went and got in the bathtub, and I woke up.' He was real frantic about it."
Ray's police report about his interview with White included this summary statement: "According to Chad, Douglas was adamant about [getting] the Ambien, which is a sleeping pill."
That was what Faylene's sister, Cherlene, had told the cop about what White supposedly had revealed to her.
But the audio of the White interview reveals that the physician assistant never did say Doug Grant was "adamant" about securing the Ambien scrip, only that Grant had reiterated the troubles they were having getting to sleep.
The pattern of Sy Ray's written police reports not matching (in important instances) what witnesses told him would not reveal itself for years.
In part, it would take a diligent defense attorney armed with a rare court order to uncover the extent of the detective's duplicity.
Ray told Chad White and others that the toxicology report was going to show that the combination of Ambien and Soma would have rendered the woman incapable of drawing her own bath and getting into the tub.
In other words, Doug Grant had to have stuck his wife in the tub where she would drown.
But Ray already knew the testing had failed to turn up the Soma in Faylene's blood and that he had (and still has) no proof that the woman ever did take the Soma.
Ray apparently never entertained the possibility that Faylene could have taken the Ambien herself and then gotten into the bath before the drug kicked in.
The detective also interviewed Sherry Lines, a longtime friend of Faylene's and a sister Mormon.
A tape of the March 2002 interview shows that Lines said Faylene had confided in her months before her death "that she wasn't going to be around that much longer."
"I've read some of her writings, and they sound very similar to that," Detective Ray replied to her.
Faylene had been dating Lines' brother Lance in early 2001, Lyons said, and she had expressed no intentions of reuniting with Doug Grant.
Lines told Ray that Faylene's obsession about her approaching death had kept her from getting closer to Lance.
"She had come to me concerned that, 'Maybe I shouldn't even be involved with him; I really don't want to break his heart,'" Lines told Sy Ray in the recorded interview. "Faylene said, 'I really don't think I'm gonna be around, and I'm just trying to get everything ready.'"
But Sy Ray later wrote nothing in his police report about the interview concerning Faylene's fears of turning her new love interest into a young widower, and not anything about her profound revelations of an early demise.
"Sherry had heard nothing from Faylene that would make her think that she was suicidal," is all the detective wrote, which though technically true, was misleading.
Ray also neglected to note that Lines told him that Faylene was "just really happy" after remarrying Doug. "She was really peaceful."
In June 2002, the detective contacted Page DeWitt, a local real estate agent whose role in the investigation would become huge.
Page was and is in the catbird's seat.
She is Hilary Grant's first cousin and provided Hilary a place to stay for months after the younger woman went to work for Doug's company. She also was one of Faylene's best friends and was close to Doug at one point.
Doug had given Page a sealed envelope to give to Hilary a week after he and Faylene remarried. Instead, she had opened the package in the presence of Hilary's sister, Holly, and read its contents.
The letter from Doug to Hilary was an apology for having hurt the young woman, and it told her to stay strong.
There wasn't one word about telling Hilary to "wait" for Doug to come back to her, or any indication that he wanted to continue the relationship on the sly.
Page resealed the envelope and mailed it to Hilary.
Detective Ray later insisted that he hadn't recorded this interview with Page at her request. That, too, turned out to be false. (Part II of this story, in next week's issue, will provide details.)
Ray's report focused mostly on Page's account of what Kari Handley allegedly had told her about Doug's urging Hilary to "wait for him" after his remarriage.
According to the report, Page also said she had learned from Kari that Doug had instructed Hilary to watch First Knight, the 1995 movie starring Sean Connery and Richard Gere.
Doug, in a case of gender reversal, apparently saw himself as the character of Guinevere in the period piece, Faylene as King Arthur, and Hilary as Lancelot.
In the movie, King Arthur dies after telling Guinevere to go with Lancelot, the proverbial knight in shining armor.
By the end of the movie, that's what happens.
On July 18, 2002, Sy Ray summoned Doug and Hilary Grant to the police station to "tie up some loose ends."
Ray immediately separated the couple, saying he wanted to speak with Doug alone while Hilary spoke with another detective.
The Grants would leave more than seven hours later.
Detective Ray started by telling Doug that Faylene "had an extremely high level of Ambien in her system," but he needed to learn more from experts about how long the drug would have taken to kick in "to close out the case."
Ray talked about Faylene's life insurance policy, which she had taken steps with Doug's insurance agent brother Vaughn (shortly before she died) to increase from $300,000 to $860,000.
"When we got back together, Faylene started feeling that she was gonna go," Doug explained. "She called my brother and asked him about taking it up . . . and I told her that I didn't think that was right, so she didn't. I just thought it was taking things a little too far."
Hours into the interview, Ray asked Doug how long it had been from the time Faylene had turned off the water and gotten into the bathtub until he found her.
"An hour," Doug said, a surely inaccurate answer that prosecutor Juan Martinez is certain to bring up at trial.
Doug told the detective there had been "conversations about getting married [to Hilary] from the get-go because of what Faylene's wishes were."
Ray said that sounded odd to him.
"It's past odd," Doug agreed, adding that he had gotten "caught up" in Faylene's death obsessions "and I should have stopped it."
In the next interview room, another Gilbert detective was speaking with Hilary, who said she and Faylene had become close after the July 2001 remarriage, despite the admitted weirdness of the situation.
Hilary told the detective that Faylene had called from Utah before falling from the cliff to say her death was going to be very soon.
Sy Ray then took over, interviewing Hilary as Doug sat in another room.
The detective told her he had "serious concerns" about several "lies" that Doug had just told him:
"He never met you in the park, he never gave you money or made any statements, he didn't propose to you . . . Put yourself in my shoes."
Hilary shot back at him, "How will we ever know [the truth] until we're standing face to face with [Faylene]?"
Ray warned her that the toxicology reports on Faylene "are just about there," and that he anticipated the tests would prove Faylene couldn't have made it to the tub by herself. (He was lying. The test results already were in.)
"And you know what?" Ray told her, "I'm almost positive that Doug put Faylene in the bathtub. I'm not far from proving that."
Hilary was sobbing loudly by then.
"I know how it looks," she said.
Hilary noted, accurately, that Faylene's premonitions of death had started months before her getting back with Doug.
Hilary said she'd been praying about a lot of things.
"So you were praying that Faylene would pass away?" Ray asked.
"No," she responded.
Ray told Hilary that the LDS faith views suicide or assisted suicide with the same gravity as murder.
"If Faylene committed suicide, she would not be entitled to these gifts [in Heaven] she wrote about," the detective said, inaccurately referring to official Mormon thinking on the issue.
Her voice quavering, Hilary told the detective that she didn't know whether Hilary would have committed suicide.
"Part of me thinks no way and part of me thinks maybe," she said.
After a while, Hilary asked if she could step out and find her husband. Ray said she could do whatever she wanted.
"Hilary wanted to confront Doug," was how the detective put it in his report.
Ray soon sat with the couple as Hilary questioned Doug about several issues the detective had raised.
Ray chimed in, telling Doug his story didn't match "with the evidence," and that several people had brought up Doug's dishonest nature.
"I've been dishonest, that is absolutely true," Doug replied, speaking generally and not about whether or not he killed Faylene.
The Grants finally started to come to their senses.
"You've totally, totally lied to me," Doug told Detective Ray, sounding like many other suspects after police interrogations.
"Well, correct, I deceived you . . . You're right. I did, and I'm telling you why right now. Doug, my job is to find the facts, and any way I can uncover the facts and make sense out of what happened, I'm gonna do that."
"So how truthful do you have to be with things you [tell] me?" Hilary asked the detective.
"I don't [have to be truthful]," Ray replied.
Even if Doug Grant's account had problems, he had made no admission of wrongdoing during Sy Ray's extensive questioning, and he walked out of the Gilbert police station a free man.
The investigation languished over the next few years.
Then, in early 2004, Detective Ray got a call from Faylene's sister, Cherlene Patterson, who said she'd spoken to a onetime buddy of Doug's from Safford, Jim McElyea.
Cherlene claimed McElyea had told her Doug had confessed to "putting Faylene to sleep and putting her in the tub."
Ray phoned McElyea, who said he really didn't know anything and didn't want to get involved.
Another year passed.
On January 27, 2005, Cherlene called Ray again, saying McElyea had contacted her again, this time saying that if her family would provide him with a $10,000 "loan," he would tell police what he allegedly knew about Faylene's death — her murder, really.
Ray advised Cherlene to tell McElyea that the Eaves family would pay the $10,000, but only after he told them what he knew. He suggested a meeting in a parking lot somewhere, in a car wired for sight and sound, and with a team of undercover cops nearby.
"The bottom line is, we're going to use Jim," the detective said. "If Jim knows what happened to Faylene and has been sitting on it for so long, I'm sorry, we're going to use and abuse him."
Two weeks later on February 16, 2005, Cherlene Patterson and her husband, Darren, awaited Jim McElyea's arrival in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Globe.
As planned, Sy Ray's team had wired the Pattersons' vehicle and hid nearby.
McElyea pulled up and stepped into the Pattersons' car. Cherlene handed him a $10,000 check.
He then told them of visiting Doug at his house in Gilbert one day after Faylene died.
"I had made a comment a couple weeks prior that [Faylene] was scaring me because she was like being around an angel," McElyea told the Pattersons.
"She just had this glow about her. Doug said, 'She is freaking me out, too' . . . And he said that she said she wanted to go to Heaven, and he just did what she wanted . . . He just helped her get to sleep."
McElyea said Doug confessed to him about crushing all of the Ambien, putting it in an empty capsule and giving it to Faylene.
"He had a suspicion that she was going to leave him again," McElyea said. "And I am sure [the murder] had to do with [her] half of the money."
Doug waited until Faylene was almost unconscious, McElyea said, ran the bath, undressed her, and placed her in the tub.
"Did he say anything about holding her under?" Cherlene asked him.
"It's not like she was comatose," McElyea replied. "I mean, she was kind of stirring around, and I guess he had to hold her under. Then, he said he waited and then he went ahead and called [physician assistant Chad White]."
McElyea said Doug also told him White had called 911 after arriving at the Grants' home, which would be huge for investigators if true.
"If she was going to kill herself, why would she take all of her clothes off? Everyone is going to see her," Darren Patterson wondered.
"Faye was even more modest than I was. There is no way she wanted to die like that," Cherlene agreed.
"How could you do that? How could you do that to her?" Darren asked.
"I didn't," McElyea replied.
"He is just evil; he is right there with Satan," Cherlene concluded.
Moments after McElyea left the car, police arrested him on charges of extortion and withholding evidence from authorities. Sy Ray soon promised him immunity in return for being "100 percent with us."
McElyea said he'd do whatever the cop wanted.
The detective interviewed McElyea in Gilbert a few hours later.
McElyea explained that he had drinking and gambling problems, and Doug, whom he'd known for years, had helped him out financially before a falling-out over McElyea's admitted failure to repay him.
McElyea repeated to Ray that Doug had confessed to him out of the blue about murdering Faylene.
"He just started mumbling and he said, 'What did I do? I don't know what I did,' and he started telling me that she wanted to go to the Heavenly Father.
"And she was gonna leave him and was gonna take the boys, and 'I just can't take that chance' and this and that. And I was speechless."
Early that evening, February 16, 2005, Jim McElyea "bumped into" Doug Grant outside a building in Mesa where Doug was about to lead a seminar.
The two hadn't seen each other for more than a year.
Wired for sound, McElyea went along with a script devised by Sy Ray, claiming authorities had questioned him earlier that day about Faylene's death.
"I kind of panicked and told them I hadn't seen you for a couple of days after she died," McElyea said. "They claimed they had information about what you told me about that morning."
McElyea swore he hadn't told anyone "about what you told me about what really happened [to Faylene]."
"What do you mean, about what really happened?" Doug asked. "What did I say?"
"About putting her to sleep."
"What I told you I told everyone," Doug said.
"They implied that somebody told them something," McElyea said, referring to the cops.
"I don't really remember at all that conversation," Doug said.
McElyea told Doug, "You said it was like you were dreaming."
"You'll have to explain it to me, Jim."
"You went in the bathroom, and you put her to sleep."
"I did put her to sleep," Doug said. "What do you mean?"
"Put in the bathtub. Put her to sleep. Then a week later, you said that's not what you meant."
"Number one, Jim, these people say things and try to scare people," Doug told him, sounding calm under the circumstances. "Just tell the truth."
McElyea reminded Doug of being alone in the house with him.
"The only thing that concerns me with what you said is that I said that I put her to sleep in the tub," Doug said. "There's a lot of confusion, but the bottom line is, I don't believe she killed herself, and I know I didn't kill her. And if all this comes out, all it's gonna do is make her look bad when she was one of the most phenomenal people on the planet.
"If they want to come after me, they can try, but I know what happened. It was a really bad situation, but I loved her with all my heart."
Maybe Doug Grant figured that police had compromised Jim McElyea. But if it was a performance, it was an impressive one.
As for McElyea, he never was formally charged with extorting money from Faylene's family.
"I wish I'd never heard of any of these people," he told New Times in 2006.
On July 12, 2005, Gilbert detective Sy Ray stepped into the grand jury room at the Maricopa County Courthouse.
He would be the sole witness for the State of Arizona in its quest for a first-degree murder indictment against Doug Grant.
That the panel returned a true bill against Grant was not surprising. Grand juries predictably do precisely as prosecutors tell them.
But what happened behind the closed doors that day went way beyond the norm — and will be a topic of next week's story on this remarkable case.
One teaser: Sy Ray never mentioned Faylene Grant's goodbye letters to the panel, and not a word about her self-documented history of suicidal thoughts.
On the morning of July 14, 2005, police arrested Doug Grant in Pima, just outside the offices of Optimal Health Systems, which had relocated there a few years earlier.
The cops took Doug to a jail in Safford, where Sy Ray was waiting for him.
"I wholeheartedly believe, without any doubts, that you killed Faylene," the detective told him. "I believe that I can prove that it was a financially motivated crime, for the most part. You stood to gain roughly $400,000 in doing so [and] you did collect the majority of that."
Doug sat mutely.
"I don't think you're as devout to your religion as you claim to be," he said. "But if you are, this is pretty much that opportunity that comes up once in a lifetime to set things straight once and for all. You will be judged, not only for the rest of your life, but for eternity on what you do right now."
Doug said, "I want to talk to my lawyer."
Next week: Detective Sy Ray sells his case against Doug Grant, but troubling problems reveal themselves.
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