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Tuesday
Aug232011

Exclusive Photo: Last Known Picture of Robyn Gardner In Aruba

ABC News(ORANJESTAD, Aruba) -- Missing Maryland woman Robyn Gardner was heavily intoxicated when she was last seen alive in an Aruban restaurant, less than two hours before her companion reported her missing after an alleged evening snorkeling trip.

The man with Gardner at the restaurant, Gary Giordano, is being held in an Aruban jail and is the lone suspect in Gardner's disappearance, although he has not been charged with a crime. Aruban police have said they believe Gardner is dead.

Eyewitnesses said Gardner seemed woozy at the restaurant and barely ate her salad.

In addition, a restaurant worker told ABC News he thought it was odd to hear that the couple went snorkeling because Gardner "seemed so perfectly put together," referring to her clothing, hair and make-up.

ABC News has obtained the last known pictures of Gardner, 35, to be taken before her disappearance at the Rum Reef Bar & Grill in the Baby Beach area of the island on the Aug. 2 evening that she vanished.

Gardner's cousin, Kelly Reed, said the family recognized the dress Gardner was wearing in the photo. And Gardner's live-in boyfriend in Maryland, Richard Forester, told ABC News that it was Gardner in her favorite dress, "with 100 percent certainty."

Those who saw the couple at the restaurant tell ABC News they were clearly in a romantic relationship, with Gardner reportedly telling the server, at one point, she was waiting for her "husband" to order.

The server at the restaurant said Giordano "inexplicably" jumped up after the couple sat down and introduced himself, saying, "My name is Gary and this is Robyn and we're from Maryland." The server found Giordano's behavior odd and reported it to authorities.

The woman’s family issued a statement Tuesday asking people to not lose hope in finding Gardner.

"After three weeks we ask everyone to please keep praying for Robyn. And we thank all who are helping to find out what happened to Robyn and ask anyone with information to please, please contact authorities," the statement said.

The statement came out as Aruban authorities suspended the search for Gardner. A massive search had been resumed Monday with more than 60 officials, including FBI agents, Aruba riot cops and volunteers combing the rocky and treacherous area along Aruba's coastline area away from the beach where Gardner went missing, but found nothing.

The latest witness account and the photographs of Gardner and Giordano together emerged just one day after a witness came forward to dispute Giordano's account of what happened the day Gardner disappeared.

Three days after the search for Gardner began, Giordano got within feet of leaving the country before he was stopped at Aruba's airport, where he told U.S. Customs he had to change flights because of weather, and told officials that his travel companion was "taking another flight." When arrested, authorities say Giordano was drenched in sweat.

Federal agents have searched Giordano's Gaithersburg, Md. home, seizing cell phones and laptops. The home was known to have been equipped with surveillance cameras and signs warning visitors that video and audio of their visits would be recorded, according to neighbors.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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