Longform

Mormon Widower Doug Grant Wasn’t Counting on a Murder Rap When He Followed His Late Wife’s Instruction to Marry His Ex-Lover

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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.

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Paul Rubin
Contact: Paul Rubin