A Gilbert Detective Crossed the Line to Turn Doug Grant’s Wife’s Bathtub Drowning Into a Murder Case

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

This is Part 2 of a two-part story. Read Part 1 here.

It's September 24, 2008, seven years to the day since Faylene Grant tumbled off a cliff in Utah.

Faylene survived the mysterious fall, only to drown in her bathtub three days later after ingesting enough of the sleep drug Ambien to knock her out.

As a reporter approaches his home in Graham County, Faylene's widower Doug is weeks away from going on trial for her murder.


Doug Grant

Grant has been out on bond since spending two weeks in jail after his July 2005 arrest.

He lives with his current wife, Hilary, and three of his four children in rural Pima (population 2,000), a few miles from the county seat of Safford.

Grant's nutritional-products company, Optimal Health Services, is on Center Street, the town's main drag.

New Times knocks on the front door of Grant's spacious home, a few blocks from his business.

The door opens, and Grant appears. Small and fit, he's dressed in a polo shirt with an OHS insignia and pressed khakis. Grant is cordial, yet guarded, saying that his attorney, Mel McDonald, will kill him (interesting choice of words) if he speaks about his case, much as he'd like to.

But the 42-year-old agrees to let the reporter in, so long as discussing Grant's case remains off limits.

Hilary Grant steps into the front room and introduces herself with a firm handshake.

Prosecutors will portray her at trial as the "other woman," an alleged motivation for murder given that Doug married her just three weeks after Faylene's death.

But on this day, she's just a friendly 27-year-old in blue jeans and a baggy T-shirt. Hilary snuggles up to her husband of seven years on a love seat after offering refreshments.

She says she relies on her immediate family and her faith — she's a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — for strength.

"Doug and I are not anything fancy," she says. "We are about family, kids. This is our life."

While tidy and clean, the Grant home feels lived in, as well it should with two athletic boys (now 12 and 10) and 5-year-old daughter Navaeh bounding about.

A tour of the home includes a stop in the bedroom of Marley and Braven, Doug Grant's sons by Faylene (an older son by Doug's first wife lives elsewhere).

A photograph of Doug and Charles Barkley from the 1990s is tacked to a wall, a reminder of their dad's tenure as team nutritionist for the Phoenix Suns.

Photos of the boys with their late mother sit prominently on their dressers, near shots of their adoptive mother Hilary with other family members.

Only one room reveals any hint of the dark cloud that has been hanging over Doug Grant since his arrest.

He calls it the "war room" because everything in it concerns the sprawling case against him — the to-do lists scribbled on a chalkboard in one corner, the police reports, the legal papers, the DVDs.

Copies of Faylene Grant's diaries — key evidence in the case — are under the glass top of a coffee table in the middle of the room.

People who leave behind letters or journals (Faylene did both) often are alerting the world to look toward a certain culprit should they wind up dead.

Faylene didn't do that.

In her final months, she did endlessly reveal her steadfast belief that she would die soon. She wrote it in her diary. She said so in conversations and letters to close friends and family and to both Doug and Hilary.

Faylene, as far New Times could discover, didn't say how she believed her death would occur, but the devout 35-year-old Mormon woman claimed to know why it would happen:

God was calling her to Heaven.

Her diaries and her comments to others suggest that she was happy with her life with Doug, whom she had unexpectedly and suddenly remarried in July 2001 after being divorced from him for about a year.

But despite Faylene's apparent marital bliss — "I love you with all my heart and soul. You are my best friend!" she wrote to Doug three weeks before she died — her overwhelming sense that her life would soon end never went away.

Her death "revelations" started months before she reunited with Doug, and Faylene told a dear friend earlier in 2001 that she was afraid to get involved with a new love interest because she didn't want to make him a young widower.

Things took an even stranger twist after she and Doug got married, as she became obsessed with putting her affairs in order before God took her.

On top of that list was Faylene's effort to urge Doug and Hilary DeWitt to get married as soon as she died.

"I have asked Hilary (invited her) to sit at the table as your mother while I am away," Faylene wrote to her children shortly before her death. "She is a great woman and will love you all so much."

In another journal entry, Faylene described how she would be awaiting the arrival of Doug, Hilary, and all their collective children in Heaven — called the Celestial Kingdom in the LDS faith.

Hilary was a stunning 19-year-old secretary at Grant's company, which then was based in Mesa. She had started dating Doug in the fall of 2000, and the two were an item up until the day of his startling remarriage to Faylene on July 27, 2001.

Doug heeded his wife's weird instructions and married Hilary just three weeks after Faylene was buried in Mesa. The act immediately ratcheted the suspicions and ire of Faylene's family.

Now, seven years later, Doug Grant stands accused of murdering Faylene as her three youngest children slept nearby in their home on East Michelle Way in Gilbert.

By the summer of 2005, Gilbert police Detective Sy Ray had persuaded county prosecutors to move forward against Doug Grant.

Ray was confident of his case, even though his potential star witness, extortionist-turned-police-snitch Jim McElyea, had failed to lure a confession from Doug months earlier (see Part 1 of this story, "Death Wish," in last week's issue).

Ray also had interviewed Doug for more than seven hours in July 2002 at the Gilbert police station without squeezing a confession out of him.

On July 12, 2005, the detective and Deputy County Attorney Frankie Grimsman appeared before a county grand jury in downtown Phoenix.

Ray would be the state's only witness.

The one-sided, closed-door proceedings usually are legal breezes for prosecutors, who only have to show "probable cause" that a crime was committed.

Detective Ray began by testifying about the "fairly serious relationship" between Doug Grant and Hilary DeWitt in the summer of 2001.

"And did he in fact spend a weekend in Las Vegas with Hilary DeWitt?" Grimsman asked him.

"Yes, that's correct," Ray replied, saying that the couple had stayed at the Riviera Hotel and Casino on the weekend of July 14.

Ray said Doug and his then-ex-wife Faylene had flown to Texas one week after that to attend a settlement conference involving a civil case in which both were plaintiffs. During that trip, Ray said, Doug and Faylene broached the possibility of reuniting as a couple.

Faylene then traveled to San Diego to pray about it at an LDS temple, because the Mesa temple was closed for repairs.

Ray said Doug and his two sons by Faylene joined her in San Diego a few days later to learn of her (and God's) decision firsthand:

"They . . . decided they would remarry," the detective testified. "Drove directly from San Diego to Las Vegas. [It was] back to the Riviera, where they were married that weekend."

This is the same hotel where Doug and Hilary DeWitt supposedly had stayed a few weeks earlier.

Grimsman asked whether Doug spoke with Hilary after the remarriage.

"This is from Mr. Grant," Ray said. "That he spoke to Hilary. He explained to Hilary that he was concerned about her, didn't want her to get back together [with] an ex-boyfriend in the area. Told her just to be patient, wait for him. To watch a movie by the name of First Knight."

The detective gave his synopsis of the 1995 film and how it related to the murder case at hand:

"Lancelot and Guinevere are actually having an affair while she is married to King Arthur. [Grant] explains himself to be similar to the role of Guinevere and Hilary is Lancelot. Faylene would be King Arthur."

(Actually, Lancelot and Guinevere weren't having an "affair" in this version of the Arthurian legend, though Lancelot did have deep, if guilt-ridden, feelings for her. Arthur catches the pair in a passionate embrace after what was supposed to be a goodbye kiss, which leads to a charge of treason against both. But Arthur later is wounded in battle, and he asks Lancelot on his deathbed to "take care of her for me." He seems to mean both Guinevere and Camelot.)

Ray testified that Doug Grant said there had been an illustration of Lancelot on a wall at the Excalibur in Las Vegas, which "kind of got the whole thought started with him."

But the detective claimed that Doug and Faylene had not stayed at the Excalibur and that there wasn't any record of the couple "using the wedding chapel to be married there."

The detective alleged that Faylene Grant's life insurance policy had jumped from $300,000 to $860,000 just before her death, and Doug was its sole beneficiary.

But in response to a question from the prosecutor, Ray said the extra $560,000 hadn't been paid out because the policy had not yet been formally approved.

Grimsman asked Ray if Doug had been aware of the status of Faylene's policy.

"It's unclear what his actual understanding [was]," Ray said.

Briefly, the detective got into Faylene's nasty spill in Utah on September 24, 2001: "While they were hiking, Faylene is standing out on a ledge and accidentally falls off."

Ray said the Grants flew home on the afternoon of September 26. Doug soon phoned physician assistant Chad White and requested a house call for his injured wife.

White came by and gave Faylene a shot of a "muscle relaxer" and wrote prescriptions for Soma (another muscle relaxer) and the painkiller Darvocet.

"As Chad is preparing to leave, Doug explains to Chad that [Faylene] is having trouble sleeping," Ray told the grand jury. "Any chance Chad could also prescribe a sleeping medication?"

Ray said White had been hesitant, but "Doug [persisted], basically stating, 'If you write the prescription out, I won't fill it right away.'"

White wrote the scrip for Ambien.

But Grant immediately ignored the physician assistant's instructions, Ray said, and went to a Walgreens to fill it and the other prescriptions.

Around dawn the next day, the detective continued, "Doug recalls Faylene wet the bed. He changed his story a few times on exactly what happened after that."

One of Grant's accounts, Ray testified, was that he had helped Faylene into the bathroom after she urinated.

"Later on, he says, she got up, went to the bathroom on her own," Ray said. "Says he remembers her running a bath, getting into a bath. He rolls over, goes back to sleep in the same bed that she was in. Wakes up later, calls for her. She doesn't answer, so he immediately jumps out of bed, runs into the bathroom expecting something is wrong."

Ray said Grant told him that he had found Faylene submerged in the tub. He lifted her out, carried her to the bed, and began CPR.

"The first person he calls at that point is Chad White" but, inexplicably, not 911, Ray pointed out.

White did call 911 from his car as he rushed over to the Grants' residence from Mesa. Then, he performed CPR on the unresponsive woman in the master bedroom until paramedics arrived.

Faylene died late that afternoon, September 28, 2001, at Valley Lutheran Hospital.

Ray testified that Grant and ex-girlfriend Hilary met at a park just hours after Faylene died, where Doug gave Hilary at least $1,000 in cash and told her to have a good time because her life was about to change dramatically:

"She is going to be the mother to his children. He also places his hands on her hips, tells her a statement along the lines that he missed [them]."

Ray then claimed, "We have spoken to both Doug and Hilary [and] both have admitted . . . the time and place that the conversation took place."

The detective said the ex-lovers often had spoken by phone after Doug's remarriage to Faylene.

He alleged that the "last phone call" Doug made on the night before Faylene drowned was to Hilary, as was "the second call he made from the hospital" the next day.

Ray already had painted quite a damning picture of Doug Grant, but he was far from done.

He described how Doug had proposed to Hilary within days after Faylene died, and then married the 19-year-old on October 23, 2001, less than a month later.

The detective told the grand jury how Faylene's 11-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, Jenna, had seen Doug feeding son Braven breakfast in the kitchen about 7:15 on the fatal morning.

Jenna then showered and came out of her bathroom about 7:30, while, according to Ray, "Doug is still in the kitchen with Braven."

Five or 10 minutes later, Ray said, Doug told Jenna in a panic to grab the two boys and go over to a neighbor's.

"So her story is not consistent with Doug having been asleep all morning?" prosecutor Grimsman asked.

"That's correct," Ray replied, noting that Jenna's account fit into the timeline of Chad White's 7:42 a.m. phone call to 911.

The detective then made this definitive statement:

"Jenna specifically, without a doubt, recalls not only seeing Doug in the kitchen that morning, [but] also talking to him."

Ray said the little girl told him she remembered that day so well because "that is the morning her mother dies."

The detective then discussed his star witness, Jim McElyea, a former close friend of Doug's.

McElyea became a police snitch in early 2005 after his plan to extort $10,000 from Faylene's family in exchange for information about Doug's alleged murder confession to him went awry.

Ray described how McElyea had told Faylene's sister Cherlene in a secretly tape-recorded meeting that Doug confessed everything one day after Faylene died.

The detective said that, according to Mc­Elyea, Doug's motive for murder was that his "alimony and child-support payments were extremely high, over $2,500 a month. Doug was fearful that Faylene may leave him again, that he didn't want to pay that kind of money."

Ray testified about the two meetings between McElyea and Doug that police secretly recorded in early 2005 after McElyea had become a "cooperating witness" to avoid his own prosecution on bribery charges.

Ray conceded that Doug never admitted killing Faylene in the long recorded conversations with McElyea.

(Doug told McElyea in one terse exchange, "If you believe in your heart that I told you I put her in that tub and I put her to sleep, that is basically saying [I] killed her. That is the most ridiculous thing on the planet.")

The prosecutor asked the detective if he had considered the possibility that Faylene committed suicide.

He said he had, noting that Faylene had "kept pretty accurate journals" for years.

But Ray said he had found only two entries in which Faylene expressed suicidal thoughts, the most recent one about five years before she died.

This would be the sole reference in the grand jury presentation to Faylene's telltale diaries, the ones in which she'd written so positively about Doug while also reflecting on her looming demise and what she wanted to happen with her family afterward.

Ray explained that the official cause of death was "drowning, secondary to [Ambien] intoxication" but the manner of death remained undetermined.

"Based on the evidence presented to [the medical examiner] at the time of her death, there was no determination if it is suicide, accidental, homicide. It's left undetermined so it can be later determined."

The prosecutor asked the grand jurors if they had any questions of Ray.

They did.

One question concerned Faylene's baffling spill off the Utah cliff shortly before she drowned.

"So did she talk to anyone about what she perceived happened to her?" a juror asked.

"She did not talk to anybody," Ray said. "[Faylene's family] said she was never alone after that incident. That when she was visited by anybody, that Doug was always present."

Another panelist asked whether Hilary had known that "something is going down, that in the very near future she could move into his family."

Ray replied, "When I spoke to her, she admitted that she had a good indication that something would happen, and that she would be able to get back with Doug in a short period of time."

That sounded as if Hilary had been in on it, though she wasn't facing charges.

The juror asked the detective if Hilary had told him why she hadn't gone to the police.

"No," Ray said.

The grand jury soon voted 13-0 to indict Doug Grant for first-degree murder.

Sy Ray had been most convincing, and the tenor of the grand jury's questions made it seem as though they wanted to string up Doug Grant on the spot.

But a biased detective, with no defense attorney cross-examining him and no one seriously questioning anything he says, does not a conviction make.

It would take months to sort out Ray's labyrinth of misstatements to the panel.

Doug's attorney, Mel McDonald, would later refer to the detective's testimony as a passel of "lies." That strong a characterization ordinarily might be chalked up to typical defense hyperbole, but not this time.

Ray's account was way off base in critical instances, and each inaccuracy hurt Doug Grant.

The detective never told the jurors about Faylene Grant's belief that she would die young (or about her history of suicidal thoughts, which she noted in her diary as recently as a year or so before she died — not five years, as Ray had claimed). Ray also failed to mention her glowing written and verbal descriptions of her relationship with Doug after their remarriage.

"I am choosing to give up the life I have that is perfectly the way I want it!" she had written in her diary three weeks before her death. "I finally have a husband who treats me with love and respect that is even beyond what I could dream of!"

The detective's error-ridden testimony added new layers to an already unpredictable case:

• Ray had been wrong about Doug Grant and Hilary DeWitt's staying at the Riviera two weeks before Doug's remarriage to Faylene.

They hadn't left Arizona that weekend.

The detective said later that Faylene's close friend (and Hilary's first cousin) Page DeWitt had been the source of that information, which Page has denied.

The obvious implication of his testimony was that Doug was a self-centered cad who had returned to the Riviera with Faylene after so recently having been canoodling with his young lover at the same place.

• Ray also was wrong in claiming that Doug and Faylene hadn't stayed or gotten married at the Excalibur, as Doug had claimed. A marriage certificate showed they had exchanged vows at the Canterbury Wedding Chapel at the medieval-themed hotel.

That mattered only because Grant allegedly told the detective that the similarity between the plotline of First Knight and his own situation with Faylene and Hilary had struck him after seeing the painting of Lancelot at the hotel.

Detective Ray never revealed to the panel that Doug had told him in their July 2002 interview that Faylene first had identified with the movie as a metaphor for her life, and scribbled dialogue from it into her Book of Mormon, the LDS' sacred text.

• Ray was deceptive when he told jurors that he wasn't sure whether Doug Grant knew that Faylene's life insurance policy hadn't been bumped up yet from $300,000 to $860,000.

The detective had earlier asked Page DeWitt in an interview if she knew about the life insurance policies in Faylene's name.

DeWitt said Doug had mentioned to her after Faylene's death that "we had applied for a larger policy, but it wasn't approved yet."

That and other key exchanges between Ray and Page DeWitt didn't turn up in the detective's skimpy, one-page January 2003 police report on their interview.

In an April 2007 deposition, Ray told Mel McDonald about DeWitt's comment concerning the status of Faylene's life insurance, "We never had that conversation."

Ray earlier swore in an affidavit that he had not taped DeWitt, but he had. The detective didn't yet know that McDonald's secretary had uncovered a portion of the DeWitt interview that popped up at the end of a tape of another recorded interview.

By the way, DeWitt admitted to McDonald in an interview that she hadn't believed in Doug Grant's guilt until after Sy Ray convinced her otherwise.

• Detective Ray testified that Doug Grant had been persistent about getting the prescription for the Ambien from Chad White just as the physician assistant was about to leave the Grant residence on the early evening of September 27, 2001.

The detective's implication was that Grant's murderous intentions already were in full flower when the couple had returned from Utah.

But in interviews before the grand jury met, Ray repeatedly failed to lure White into saying what he told the panel.

"You said he approached you about the Ambien," Ray told White in one of those interviews. "Do you remember that fairly well?"

White said he didn't, recalling, "I sat on the bed speaking to both of them. I wrote them the prescriptions. I don't remember how the Ambien thing came up."

• The damning meeting in the park between Doug Grant and Hilary DeWitt did occur — though not on the same evening as Faylene's death, as key prosecution witness Kari Handley is expected to testify secondhand.

Ray's account to the grand jury about what happened at the park was slanted.

Doug Grant told the detective in 2002 that he had met with Hilary primarily to give her the you-guys-get-married-immediately-after-I-die letter Faylene had written the pair one day before she plummeted off the Utah cliff.

Hilary, in her own interview with Ray, corroborated that Doug had handed her the peculiar letter at the park.

But neither Doug nor Hilary ever admitted to Ray that he had put his hands suggestively on her hips that night or, earlier, that he earlier had told Hilary to "wait for me" after remarrying Faylene.

Ray's sole source for both alleged inflammatory comments was Hilary's second cousin and former friend Handley.

Would Handley lie?

One thing is clear: She didn't like Doug Grant. She told Mel McDonald in a May 2007 interview that Doug always had given her the creeps, and she'd never understood the attraction that her cousin felt for the guy, who was 15 years older, short, and balding.

"So you got a gut feeling he's creepy, you got a gut feeling he's a killer, and there's nothing that you can put your hand on to tell you why you have those feelings?" McDonald asked Handley.

She responded that he was correct.

During Ray's July 2002 interview with Hilary at the Gilbert Police Department, he told the young woman, "I know about a conversation in August where Doug called you and . . . says, 'Hey, wait for me. I'll come through for you. Don't get serious [about another man].' I have a concern the night that Faylene dies, he meets you in a park and he gives you cash."

"Okay," Hilary replied.

"And one of the first things out of his mouth," the detective continued, "is he grabs your hips and says, 'Oh, I miss these.' That is not a normal response from somebody who just lost their wife. Correct me if I'm wrong with any of this information, but I'm pretty sure that it's a pretty good account of what happened."

"I guess you're right," Hilary said, her voice trembling. "I mean . . ."

Ray interrupted with, "Doesn't he call you in the middle of August and say, 'Wait for me. Don't get in a serious relationship'?"

"No," she said, "it was never like that. It was, 'I just want you to be strong.'"

One can bet that Hilary's beleaguered statement, "I guess you're right," will be paraded front and center at trial as proof that she was agreeing with Sy Ray.

She says she was doing nothing of the sort because the meeting in the park didn't happen that way.

Sy Ray told the grand jury that the final phone call Doug made on the night before Faylene died was to Hilary.

He also said Doug called his ex-girlfriend several times as his wife struggled to survive at the Mesa hospital.

That added fuel to the detective's theory that Doug had been hungering to return to the younger woman whom he had dumped a few months earlier to remarry Faylene.

But court papers filed by Doug's defense lawyer suggest that he will be able to show at trial that it is unlikely that Doug and Hilary spoke on the night the Grants returned from Utah, or when Doug was at the hospital.

The detective also made it sound to the grand jury as though Faylene's 11-year-old daughter Jenna was sure she'd seen Doug in the kitchen and had spoken to him minutes before he had sent her and her little half-brothers across the street.

Ray first spoke to Jenna in March 2002, more than five months after Faylene died, and the girl then told the detective she didn't recall many specifics about that terrible morning back in September.

Importantly, a videotape of the interview doesn't show Jenna saying anything about being sure of her recollections.

Ray's later explanation to defense lawyer McDonald about that troubling discrepancy was laughable — "I'm saying somebody turned off the tape because I'm in the room with her still when the tape goes off."

Actually, the videotape shows Jenna sitting silently at the end of the interview, trying to regain her composure.

Also, it would have been two tapes, because the audio and videotape machines at the Gilbert Police Department in 2002 (when Jenna was interviewed) had to be turned on and off independently.

Ray hinted at an evil motivation when he told the grand jury that Doug Grant hadn't permitted anyone to be alone with Faylene after the fall off the cliff in Utah until she died.

What else could the detective have meant other than to plant suspicion in panel members' minds that Doug had pushed her off the cliff?

But Faylene's doctor at the hospital in American Fork and many others had spent time alone with her and noted nothing unusual about her behavior.

And there was Faylene's own account of the potentially fatal fall, to her own family and friends. She never told anyone that Doug had done anything to hurt her on the mountain.

To the contrary, Faylene was effusive about her husband's rescue efforts after the fall.

Also, if Faylene's journals were as forthright as she was in her everyday life, she wanted more than life itself to be the first in her "eternal family" to go to the Celestial Kingdom.

If Doug murdered her, he would not, under LDS doctrine, have been permitted to join Faylene in Heaven.

Facing such everlasting repercussions (much less the reality that she was living with a would-be killer), why would Faylene have told no one about what her husband allegedly had done on the cliff?

Without the account of Jim McElyea, whose failed attempt to extort money from Faylene's still-grieving family in 2005 turned him into a "cooperating" police snitch, it's questionable whether the case against Doug Grant would have moved forward.

McElyea told New Times in 2006 that he had invented much of what he first told Faylene's eager family and then Detective Ray about Doug's alleged "confession" to him.

"What happened in that house is between Doug and God, not between Doug and Jim McElyea," he said. "I got myself involved in something I shouldn't have."

In the fall of 2005, Mel McDonald, then new as Doug Grant's defense attorney, started familiarizing himself with the mass of material in the case.

Soon, he found potential witnesses that police hadn't interviewed, including Andrea Rogers, a schoolteacher who had been Doug and Faylene's neighbor on East Michelle Way in Gilbert.

Moments after he discovered Faylene floating in the bathtub on that morning in September 2001 (prosecutors would put quote marks around "discovering"), Doug Grant had sent his stepdaughter Jenna and two sons over to the Rogers residence.

In an affidavit, Andrea Rogers said she immediately went to the Grants' house to see what was up.

"I saw Doug Grant literally running around the corner, charging hard toward the front door where I was standing," Rogers wrote in her affidavit. "He had a frantic, terrified look on his face. He appeared distraught, and he was crying. He blurted out, 'This wasn't supposed to happen.'

"He excitedly told me that 'an ambulance was on the way' and asked me to please return home to watch over his children. He told me that he needed to get back [to Faylene] because he was performing CPR."

Rogers also remembered that the little Grant boys were hungry, which mattered because Jenna told police months later that Doug had been feeding one of the boys in his kitchen a short time earlier.

If true, that had happened as Faylene was floating unconscious in the tub. (Mel McDonald is likely to suggest that Jenna was recalling a different day.)

Sy Ray also did his own share of post-indictment investigation into what had become a career case.

He spoke for the first time to Becky and Mark Greer, who lived about eight miles from Utah's Timanogos Cave National Monument — the site of Faylene's fall.

They were the couple with whom the Grants stayed for two nights after Faylene went flying off the cliff. Becky Greer is a registered nurse who sits on the advisory board of Grant's company, Optimal Health Services.

In August 2005 (a month after Doug Grant was indicted), Detective Ray interviewed the Greers at their home. He soon asked whether they had discussed the fall with Doug and Faylene.

"Absolutely," Becky Greer told him. "I asked each of them privately [about it]."

That ran counter to what Sy Ray had told the grand jury about Doug's keeping a tight leash on all of Faylene's communications after the spill.

In fact, the Greers said, Doug had gone out to get food and other items during the stay, leaving Becky and Faylene home alone to chat freely.

Becky Greer said she had acted like an investigator during her one-on-ones with Faylene, talking to her about death, relationships, God, and other weighty topics.

She told the detective that Faylene had never mentioned suicide to her and said she had slipped and fallen while standing too close to the edge.

"I had the most wonderful conversations with her," Greer said. "I was perplexed that she fell. For me, if somebody just falls, there's a certain willingness there. That was a red flag to me."

Greer didn't stop there.

"[Doug] was very protective, and he took care of her so sweetly," she said. "I just never have seen such tenderness that they had for each other . . . And she told me, 'I know that Doug loves me with all his heart,' and she had found the most wonderful husband and how much she loved him."

"Okay, okay," Ray replied, having heard enough.

Now it was the detective's turn.

He sketched out his case against Doug Grant for the future witnesses, including Doug's continued relationship with Hilary DeWitt after remarrying Faylene and the Ambien prescription.

"I'll tell you there are a lot of things that haven't come out that the media doesn't have," Ray teased. "Very interesting information, and let's leave it at that."

Becky Greer responded, "I would be surprised if he did it. That I would be shocked at."

Ray shot back, "There are some giant red flags."

"If he would have tried to push her or kill her, whatever, he wouldn't have wanted us to talk to her, or to be alone with her," Becky countered. "He would be more secretive in trying to keep away from anybody."

Mel McDonald is known for his legal bluster.

He outdid himself when he wrote in a 175-page legal motion in early 2006 that "there has never been a criminal case in the history of this state where there have been more documentable material misrepresentations of fact during a grand jury presentation than those which occurred in this case."

After taking a hard look at Sy Ray's grand jury testimony, Superior Court Judge David Talamante may have agreed with McDonald. In the spring of 2006, the judge returned the case to the grand jury for reconsideration, an unusual action.

By then, the County Attorney's Office had put one of its heaviest hitters on the case, veteran homicide prosecutor Juan Martinez.

That July 21, Martinez and Detective Ray returned to the grand-jury room for round two.

The pair now alleged that Doug was a self-described "sex addict" who had engaged in multiple affairs during his first marriage to Faylene (he had) and then wanted out of the remarriage to get back with ex-girlfriend Hilary, the irresistible 19-year-old.

Ray testified that Faylene wouldn't wear revealing clothes or thong underwear as would Hilary, and "this would bother Mr. Grant."

Martinez asked, "She did not please him in the bedroom?"

"Correct," Ray said. "He would complain he wasn't sexually satisfied with her. He stated that he was a sex addict. That he had to have sex all the time."

Ray cleaned up some of his errors from the first grand jury, such as the site of Doug and Faylene's July 2001 wedding.

But he repeated many of his dubious big points, including Doug Grant's alleged "wait for me" and "miss those hips" comments.

The detective made the meeting between Doug and Hilary in the park sound even spicier, testifying that Grant had "grabbed her by the hips, pulled him into her, where their pelvic areas had contact. Explained to her he had missed these."

Ray also repeated his gross misstatement that Doug Grant had approached Chad White for the Ambien prescription as the physician assistant "is preparing to leave," a notion that conjured malevolent implications.

Detective Ray referred briefly to his interview with the Greers in Utah, insisting that Doug had done all the explaining to the couple about Faylene's fall — another misstatement.

Again, the prosecution downplayed Faylene's death-obsessed writings, even though there were copies of her journals on hand for the panel to look at, if members wanted to.

But Juan Martinez cleverly didn't mention the journals until near the end of his presentation, and almost in passing.

Detective Ray spoke briefly to the possibility that Faylene Grant had committed suicide.

"If you commit suicide, you won't get to the highest Celestial Kingdom," he explained to the grand jury, a point with which several LDS officials (contacted by New Times for last week's story) disagree.

Prosecutor Martinez eliminated onetime star witness Jim McElyea from this second presentation.

Like the first grand jury, this panel took only minutes before issuing a murder indictment against Doug Grant.

At the end, Faylene Grant's life was about God, family, friends, and (no getting around this) her husband.

Though Faylene remained fixated on what she believed to be the inevitability of her imminent death, she also seemed more content with her life than she had been in years.

After she remarried Doug Grant in July 2001, her general mood (as exemplified in her writings and in conversations with loved ones) brightened until she died.

Yet Ray didn't want to see it that way.

"This is a case where Doug 100 percent manipulated Faylene totally," the detective told Mel McDonald in 2005. "The happiest time of her life, yet she's gonna go kill herself? None of it adds up."

He's right. Things don't add up in this case.

A text on suicide says, "Friends and families of suicide victims are often confounded with a sense that this was not a suicide because of the cheerfulness of [the] person."

That describes Faylene Grant in her last weeks.

But Faylene's death simply may have been a tragic accident, one for which Doug Grant bears some responsibility (morally, if nothing else) for having filled the Ambien prescription against Chad White's advice.

Hurting badly and sleep-deprived, the poor woman may have taken the five Ambien tablets herself and fallen asleep in the tub.

In the end, there appears to be good reason why the Office of the County Medical Examiner ruled the cause of Faylene Grant's death "undetermined."

Detective Ray, by the way, is now Sergeant Ray.

In 2006, the Gilbert Police Department honored him as its best officer for his work in "solving" the Doug Grant case and promoted him.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.