Aruba holds Gary Giordano on Robyn Gardner’s disappearance

August 31, 2011

Gary Giordano, the Gaithersburg man arrested in Aruba in connection with the disappearance of his traveling companion, Robyn Gardner, was ordered held for another 60 days Wednesday as prosecutors prepared to try him on criminal charges.

Authorities view Giordano as a suspect in Gardner’s apparent death in part because he was in a position to collect on Gardner’s $1.5 million travel insurance policy, Aruban Solicitor General Taco Stein said Wednesday. Stein described Giordano as “the beneficiary in case of a mishap with” Gardner.

Giordano, 50, and Gardner, 35, arrived in Aruba together July 31. Two days later, Giordano told Aruban police that the two had been snorkeling and that Gardner didn’t make it back to the shore. Police became skeptical of his account and arrested Giordano on Aug. 5 at the airport.

Rescue workers have searched the waters and land but have found no sign of Gardner, Stein said. Authorities said they fear she is dead.

Wednesday’s hearing, which was not open to the public, was underway by 10:30 a.m. Under Aruban law, suspects in cases such as Giordano’s are periodically taken before judges. Prosecutors must show there is enough reason to continue to hold a suspect. After previous hearings, judges ordered Giordano held for eight- and 16-day stretches.

At Wednesday’s hearing, prosecutors had to reach a higher bar to convince a judge to continue Giordano’s detention. A trial generally would be held within months after the 60-day period, Stein said, but could be delayed.

Stein would not say what charges they intend to file. In the past he has described Giordano as a “suspect in a suspicious death.”

Michael Lopez, a lawyer in Aruba who has represented Giordano, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. He previously has said there is no proof his client committed a crime.

The Associated Press earlier reported the insurance policy.

The FBI searched Giordano’s house Aug. 12, obtaining documents and other items, according to an FBI spokesman. In previous years in Montgomery County, Giordano has been accused by two women of domestic abuse or threats, according to requests for restraining orders filed in Rockville courthouses.

But for the most part this case has been centered in Aruba. The story has been propelled into international news by its comparisons to the case of Natalee Holloway, who disappeared in Aruba in 2005.

On Wednesday, Gardner’s mother, Andrea Colson, released a statement through the Natalee Holloway Resource Center.

“We have faith and confidence in the Aruban Authorities and FBI, and know that they will fervently continue their efforts to find Robyn,” she said. “This has been such a difficult time for all of us and your prayers have given us strength. We need to find our daughter.”

Dan Morse covers courts and crime in Montgomery County. He arrived at the paper in 2005, after reporting stops at the Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun and Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is the author of The Yoga Store Murder.
Continue reading
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Local