A Frederick County woman is missing in Aruba, and police there have detained an American for questioning in the case, according to Aruba authorities and a missing persons organization.
Robyn Gardner, 35, was last seen a week ago, Aug. 2, at the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino in Oranjestad, Aruba, according to the Natalee Holloway Resource Center, an organization that grew out of the Holloway case, also in Aruba. On Friday, four days after Gardner was reported missing, authorities there detained another tourist at the airport, said Ann Angela, a spokesperson for the Aruba’s public prosecutor’s office.
“We arrested him at the airport. He was on his way back to the U.S.,” Angela said.
She said policy allowed her to only identify him by his initials: G.V.G.
She called the American a “suspect” in the case, but stressed how that covers a wide range of possibilities – from untimely reporting of Gardner’s disappearance to something more serious. “It’s too soon for us to be more specific,” Angela said.
The Aruba Herald has identified the man, and reported that he told authorities that he and Gardner had been our snorkeling. He said he swam to shore and then realized that she was not with him, the Herald reported.
Angela said Gardner arrived on the island with the man on July 31, and was last seen Aug. 2 in the area of “Baby Beach” on the southwestern tip of the island.
The man reported Gardner missing, Angela said. “He was the one who rang the alarm bell,” Angela said. She declined to elaborate on what he told authorities.
Richard Forester, who said he is the missing woman’s boyfriend, said he learned that Gardner went to Aruba with the man. Forester said the man recently lived in the Gaithersburg area. Michael Lopez, a lawyer in Aruba who the Herald said was representing the man, could not be reached.
Angela, the prosecutor’s office spokesman, said that on Sunday the suspect and Aruba police went to a beach where the man said Gardner was last seen. In recent days, a local judge ordered him held for an additional eight days while the probe continues, she said.
“The investigation is in full swing,” Angela said.
Gardner is described as 5-foot, 5-inches tall and 120 pounds, with blond hair and brown eyes, according to the Holloway missing person’s group. She has tattoos on her left arm (back of her shoulder to her elbow), her rib cage, and her right biceps, the group said.
Gardner’s family could not immediately be reached for comment.
Cpl. Jennifer Bailey, a spokeswoman for the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, said the office has not been brought into the case.
Forester, who said he has dated Gardner for the last eight months, said he only learned she was in Aruba after she got there. He said he last heard from Gardner a week ago, via a Facebook message in which she told him she loved him.
Forester said that Aruban authorities told him they plan to send Gardner’s Blackberry to the Netherlands for examination. He also said they are looking for clues in her iPad.