11-year-old girl's statement leads to arrest of killer stepdad eight years after he murdered her mother
The death of Faylene Grant was initially written off as a drowning until the case of re-examined as a homicide
The death of Faylene Grant was no ordinary one. The deeply religious woman who had been raised by a Mormon family had been found dead in her bathtub in 2001.
Her death had initially been written off as a drowning but ,three months later, thanks to a Gilbert Police Department investigator, Sy Ray, the case was re-opened after he noticed some major red flags. Oxygen media's show 'A Wedding and A Murder' looks into Faylene's controversial death and what likely happened to her.
For the longest time, Faylene's husband Doug Grant was a prime suspect in her murder. She and her husband Doug met in 1993 while at a gym in Phoenix Arizona. They both had children from their previous marriages and had grown up Mormon. At the time, Doug was a "vitamin-supplement entrepreneur" and was also a nutritionist for the Phoenix Suns basketball team.
The couple ended up marrying and eventually had two more children. They, however, got divorced in 2000 after Doug confessed that he had a few affairs. Over time, Faylene began to show signs of depression but did not resort to taking any help. After getting divorced, Doug began dating his secretary, 19-year-old Hilary Dewitt, even though they had a 15 year age difference. They had even planned to marry.
However, within a year, Faylene who had spent time at a temple clearing her thoughts decided to give the marriage another go and the couple ended up getting back together.
For the next year, things were perfect and the couple was happy. To celebrate their second honeymoon, the health and exercise loving couple traveled to Utah’s Timpanogas National Park. They were hiking when Faylene fell down a 60-foot cliff but managed to survive. After two days of recovering from minor injuries, she returned home to Arizona with a prescription for muscle relaxers and Ambien.
An interesting point to note is that a family member had gone to try and clean the Grant home before they returned. They were shocked to find some very cryptic notes which were written from Faylene's perspective. Her wedding dress had been layed out with a note saying who it should be given to. Her temple clothes had been laid out as if she were preparing for a burial. It looked as though she had not planned to come back at all.
Three days later, Faylene was found unresponsive in the bathtub on September 27, 2001. The initial ruling was drowning of which the call dispatched was recorded at 7.40 am. However, three months later, Investigator Sy Ray from the Gilbert Police Department re-examined the case files to find some shocking red flags which seemed to have been overlooked.
Just three weeks after her burial, Doug shocked everyone by marrying his former girlfriend Hilary Dewitt. The two had reportedly kept in touch even while Doug and Faylene had been remarried. Faylene had also been Hilary's baby sitter when she was younger. In a strange twist, Doug claimed that his wife had left him a letter which told him to marry Hilary and that the 'heavenly father had chosen her (Hilary)'. According to Sy Ray, it is highly possible that Faylene could have been forced to write the bizarre letter or that it could have been forged.
There was also a massive discrepancy in Doug's statement. He had initially said that upon waking up the morning of September 27 at 7.30 am, he had immediately called 911 after discovering his wife unresponsive in the bathtub. However, as detective Sy Ray points out, there was no 911 call made. Instead, Doug had called his friend Chad White who had called 911.
Another major red flag was a statement from Doug's 11-year-old stepchild, Jenna who was awake at 7:15 in the morning on the day of her mother's death. As Jenna shared, Doug was nowhere near the room as he had said in his statement but was in the kitchen making cereal for the children. This contradicts Doug's statement and shows that he was up and about at 7.15 that morning.
In 2002, he was interviewed again and continued to narrate his seemingly well-rehearsed story. Post the meeting, detective Sy Ray was told that Doug would no longer be available and handed him a special package containing Faylene's journals. The journals revealed that Doug was manipulating his wife into believing that her place was to die and go to heaven. She had almost convinced herself that her near-death was inevitable.
In 2005, a friend of Doug's, Jim McElyea, approached Faylene's family with more information on the case but asked to be paid $10,000. He recounted being told that Doug had given Faylene an Ambien capsule after which Faylene fell asleep. She had also wet herself. Doug then put her in the bathtub and held her down. McElyea shared that Faylene tried to fight back even in her drugged state but Doug physically held her head down after which he placed her on the bed.
Doug was charged with 1st-degree murder on July 14, 2005, even though McElyea later retracted his story. With mostly circumstantial evidence, 7 and a half years later, Doug was taken to trial in 2008. It took 12 days of deliberation after which the verdict reached resulted in Doug being sentenced to 5 years in prison for killing his wife Faylene. He was released in 2013 and returned to Hilary.