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Entries in Aruba (23)

Sunday
Dec042011

Gary Giordano Says He Has No Idea How Robyn Disappeared

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Gary Giordano, the lone suspect in the disappearance of Robyn Gardner in Aruba, said he believes human traffickers may be behind it, but he couldn't explain how they might have made off with the woman.

Giordano and Gardner were snorkeling on Aug. 2 off the coast of Aruba when she went missing.

"At some point I became distressed and found out that I had a problem coming back to shore. Robyn was, I thought, behind me, and she wasn't. I turned, did not see her, and I went for help," Giordano said this morning on Good Morning America.

Giordano last saw Gardner at around 4:15 p.m., but he did not tell anyone she was missing until 6 p.m., an hour and 45 minutes later.

Giordano told GMA last week that Gardner may have been kidnapped as part of a human trafficking crime.

"What you don't know about Aruba is Aruba has two main sources of income and it's not tourism—it's cocaine and human trafficking," Giordano said. "And where we were, it takes a half hour to drive a boat to Venezuela ... and it turns out that where we were, the beach, that's where they drop off illegals to swim to shore." But today, he said that he doesn't "know how that would work."

Prosecutors have told ABC News that they do not find the human trafficking theory credible.

No charges have been brought against Giordano, and prosecutors have not found a body, a motive, or a weapon.

"They exhausted every resource possible on the island of Aruba and the United States and Holland, and found zero evidence that implicates Gary. There's plenty of fodder going on and plenty of nonsense and stories ... but there's absolutely nothing that indicates that Gary is guilty of anything," Giordano's attorney, Jose Baez, said Sunday.

Skeptics have questioned Giordano's lack of emotion in his previous interviews. In his lengthy interview on GMA, Giordano only said Gardner's name once.

When asked today if he misses Gardner, Giordano said "I do miss her and I personally feel like I'll see her again it seems. That's how I feel in my mind. I just haven't come to grasps with, she's gone."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec022011

Vanished In Aruba: Woman's Boyfriend Suspects Human Trafficking

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The boyfriend of missing Maryland woman Robyn Gardner said Friday that he agreed with the man who is suspected in her disappearance that human traffickers may be involved.

"Human trafficking, yeah absolutely, that's something I've been thinking about the entire time, since day one," Richard Forester told ABC’s Good Morning America.

Forester spoke a day after Gary Giordano, the lone suspect in Gardner's disappearance, told GMA that the woman disappeared in an area that is known for activity by traffickers. 

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"I think it's very possible and I wonder what (Giordano's) involvement was," Forester said. "There's a whole underworld down there. I don't know what he knows about Aruba."

Forester appeared on GMA to respond to Giordano's first interview since being released Tuesday night from the Aruba prison where he spent four months as a murder suspect in Gardner's disappearance.

No charges had been brought against Giordano, and prosecutors have not found a body, a motive, or a weapon.

Giordano, 50, who met 35-year-old Gardner on a swinger's website a year before they decided to go on vacation to Aruba together, told prosecutors that Gardner been swept out to sea in rough currents while the two were snorkeling one evening. Prosecutors have said that Giordano's story doesn't add up.

On Wednesday, Giordano appeared to suggest during an exclusive ABC News' interview that Gardner may have been kidnapped as part of a human trafficking crime.

Forester and Gardner were living together most of the time when she disappeared and he has said they were planning to get married. He did not learn that she went to Aruba with Giordano until after she vanished.

Forester said Friday he still believes Giordano should be held responsible for her disappearance.

"Where's Robyn? Where is she? You're the last one to see her," he said of Giordano. "Where'd she go?"

"I believe that he being the last person to see her and be with her is responsible."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec012011

Aruba Suspect Gary Giordano Tells His Story to ABC News

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Gary Giordano adamantly denied many of the allegations against him in the disappearance of Robyn Gardner while they were on vacation in Aruba, defiantly telling ABC's Good Morning America on Thursday that much of the information about the disappearance has been wrong.

"I'll interview myself, if you don't mind," Giordano said in the exclusive interview -- his first since being released from an Aruban prison.  "There are hard questions, like 'he took her to a remote location' on the island.  But we were 100 yards from a scuba diving store with tanks in back.  It was not a 'remote location.'  We were in view of other people at Baby Beach."

Giordano was released Tuesday night from the jail where he had been kept for four months as the sole suspect in Gardner's disappearance. During that time, Aruban prosectors reported that much of Giordano's story about the disappearance didn't add up.

"Me 'escaping' from the island has been extremely misreported," Giordano said.

When asked whether he was drinking heavily the day of Gardner's disappearance, Giordano said he had never heard that claim.

He also explained why he contacted the insurance company just two days after Gardner's disappearance to inquire about a $1.5 million travel insurance policy he had taken out on Gardner.

"My lawyer at the time, Michael Lopez, said you need to call insurance immediately.  Helicopters and divers might send you an invoice. Call insurance and ask them how they deal with these expenses," Giordano said. Giordano also pointed to a Dutch travel guide about the island, which he says specifically advises tourists to call their insurance company after they contact the police in the event a travel companion goes missing.

Gardner, 35, disappeared on Aug. 2, at the beginning of a week-long vacation with Giordano, whom she met on a swinger's website. Giordano, 50, told police that the pair went snorkeling around 6 p.m., and when he turned around, Gardner was gone, swept out to sea.

Prosecutors have said they don't believe Giordano's story but have not found Gardner's body, a weapon, or a motive for her murder.

Giordano's U.S. attorney Jose Baez said his client will return to Aruba if ordered to by authorities.  Prosecutors said they will seek his extradition if they can bring formal charges against Giordano.

Speaking also to Good Morning America on Thursday, Baez said "there's a mountain of nothing" connecting his client to Gardner's disappearance.

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Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov302011

Aruba Murder Suspect Gary Giordano Heads Back to the US

Handout Photo(ORANJESTAD, Aruba) -- After nearly four months in an Aruban jail, Gary Giordano in on his way to America as a free man, released without being charged in the disappearance of his travel companion Robyn Gardner.

In his first free moments after being released from prison Tuesday night, Giordano was swarmed by reporters and heckled by Aruba citizens, who yelled “murder” at him as he went into a hotel. Giordano, 50, was held as a suspect in Gardner’s disappearance, although no body was ever found or any evidence that he played a role in her disappearance.

A judge ordered Giordano released by Tuesday night at 8 p.m., a day before the Aruba prosecutor’s office could present its appeal to a three-judge panel to keep Giordano on the island. If the prosecutors win their appeal, they have said they will ask for an extradition of Giordano back to Aruba from the U.S.

Giordano’s U.S. attorney Jose Baez said his client will return to Aruba if ordered to by authorities, but for now, will legally leave the island to return home to Maryland.

Baez said that Giordano will focus in the coming weeks on “reassembling his life.”

“He’s starting to just get his life back together again. I know what he plans on doing is immediately spending time with his kids. That’s most important thing to Gary, and with his family, to thank family for their support,” Baez said.

Giordano will appear on ABC's Good Morning America on Thursday morning to address for the first time his four months as a suspect in Gardner’s disappearance.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov292011

Robyn Gardner's Family 'Disappointed' Aruba Suspect Set Free

Handout Photo(ORANJESTAD, Aruba) -- Hours before Gary Giordano was released from an Aruba jail, the family of missing Maryland woman Robyn Gardner released a statement to ABC News saying they are disappointed at the lack of answers about how she disappeared.

"Needless to say, our family is very disappointed that even after all this time, we are no closer to finding out what happened to our Robyn," Kelly Reed, Gardner's cousin, told ABC News in a statement Tuesday. "We trust that the FBI and the Aruban authorities will continue their fervent efforts to investigate her disappearance."

Gary Giordano, the lone suspect in the case of a Maryland woman missing in Aruba, Robyn Gardner, was released Tuesday night after spending four months in an Aruban jail.

The 50-year-old American businessman emerged from the KIA prison, without addressing the crowd of American and local media that had gathered outside, and got into a small SUV, driven by his Aruban attorney Chris Lejueze. His attorney Jose Baez was also in the vehicle, which the media immediately swarmed, blocking the car for a few tense moments to peer inside, before the SUV drove out of the prison gates.

Giordano will leave the island Wednesday for the United States, before the Aruban High Court convenes at 11 a.m. ET. The island's prosecutors initially appealed Giordano's release.

Taco Stein, Aruba's solicitor general, is scrambling to convince the appeals panel to convene sooner than Wednesday morning.

Gardner's family said Tuesday they are still hopeful that someone with information about Gardner's whereabouts could come forward.

"Perhaps the public attention that this has generated will result in someone stepping forward with information that will help find her," Reed said.

Giordano's release after 116 days in jail comes after an Aruban judge threw out the prosecutors' request to keep him detained without charge for an additional 30 days. Aruban prosecutors do not have a body, a murder weapon, and have not locked down a definitive motive for Giordano to kill Gardner, but have argued they have enough circumstantial evidence to keep him in an Aruban jail.

Giordano's lawyer, Jose Baez, told ABC News that his client would be willing to comply with any extradition order if needed at a later date.

Aruban authorities told ABC News that they would seriously consider extraditing Giordano if they discover any hard evidence against him.

Baez, who gained fame this summer when he spearheaded Casey Anthony's acquittal on charges she murdered her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, called the conditions that led to Giordano spending over 116 days in an Aruban jail disastrous.

"You throw in the circumstances of how Robyn disappeared, and you throw in the fact that Gary is an American, and it creates a recipe for disaster, one that has kept him locked up for four months, in prison, uncharged," Baez said.

For those four months investigators grilled Giordano on what they called his suspicious response to Gardner's disappearance. He has maintained that she was pulled out to sea while they were snorkeling off the Caribbean island after a day of drinking.

Just after her disappearance, Giordano is seen in surveillance video, almost casually knocking on the doors of a local restaurant for help.

Also leading authorities to suspect Giordano is a $1.5 million travel insurance policy purchased for Gardner, which names him as the sole beneficiary, and was taken out the day before the two flew to Aruba.

In September, Giordano was denied release from jail after evidence surfaced suggesting he was eager to cash in on the American Express travel insurance policy.

According to Stein the investigation will continue whether Giordano is held in Aruba or not.

"We will still be with it. It's something we feel we need to do not only so justice is served but so the family can learn what happened to Robyn," said Stein. "They deserve answers and we are determined to bring answers to them."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov252011

Aruba Murder Suspect to be Released from Jail: Report

Comstock/Thinkstock(ORANJESTAD, Aruba) -- Gary Giordano will be released from an Aruban jail Tuesday and be home by Wednesday, according to his attorneys.

Giordano, who is the only suspect in the Aug. 2 disappearance of Robyn Gardner, has been detained in a Aruban jail for over 100 days without being charged as prosecutors scramble to recover evidence linking him to Gardner's suspected death. A judge denied prosecutors' latest request Friday to keep Giordano locked up for an additional 30 days despite the absence of a body and murder weapon. He still faces a possible Maryland grand jury indictment in connection with the case.

During Friday's hearing, Giordano made what his lawyer Jose Baez described as a "heartfelt plea" in an effort to explain his story.

Prosecutors maintain there is enough circumstantial evidence to tie Giordano to Garnder's disappearance.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct282011

Aruba Holds Gary Giordano 30 More Days in Robyn Gardner Disappearance

Comstock/Thinkstock(ORANJESTAD, Aruba) -- An Aruban judge ordered an American, Gary Giordano, held 30 more days in prison as prosecutors investigate the disappearance of a Maryland woman, Robyn Gardner.

Gardner, 35, disappeared in August while allegedly snorkeling with Giordano, a man she had met on a dating website. Giordano has been held in jail for nearly three months as prosecutors investigate his claim that Gardner drowned at sea while the pair snorkeled one evening.

Giordano has not been formally charged with a crime. A representative for the prosecutor’s office said that investigators have done extensive research during the past 60 days, including a search of the island with cadaver dogs. They have not released the results of that search or other research that has been done.

Police have released video footage of Giordano and Gardner at a restaurant shortly before the alleged drowning, showing Giordano walking to and from his rental car to refill beverages for the pair while they dined. Employees of the restaurant said Gardner appeared intoxicated and barely ate her salad.

Video footage from a few hours later shows Giordano back at the restaurant, without Gardner, knocking on windows and doors, though the restaurant is closed.

Giordano will have another hearing for his release in 30 days.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct072011

Jose Baez: Too Late to Use Dogs in Search for Maryland Woman

Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images(ORANJESTAD, Aruba) -- The defense attorney for Gary Giordano believes it is a waste of time for Aruban authorities to just now bring in cadaver dogs to search for the remains of his client's missing travel companion.

"I think it's grossly incompetent for cadaver dogs two plus months after the fact," Jose Baez told ABC's John Quinones. "Whatever scent of decomposition they expected to find is long gone."

Robyn Gardner, 35, has been missing from Aruba since Aug. 2. The man she was vacationing with, Gary Giordano, 50, has been detained there for five weeks now for questioning, though he has not been charged with any crime.

Cadaver dogs were brought in from Holland last week to search the Aruban shores for forensic evidence and any sign of Gardner's remains. Giordano has denied any wrongdoing and claimed Gardner was swept out to sea while the two were snorkeling.

Baez earned nationwide fame after successfully defending Casey Anthony, the Florida woman found not guilty of murdering her 2-year-old daughter. He talked about his defense plan for Giordano's case.

"It's unfortunate what's happening to him and it angers me, which is why I got involved," Baez said.

There has been no welcome party for Baez in Aruba. For a nation that depends on tourism, a big shot attorney and another missing woman are unhelpful.

Giordano can be legally held for questioning until Oct. 31, at which time he could be allowed to go back to the United States, unless a judge decides there is evidence produced to continue to keep him there.

The solicitor general of the island is now saying he plans to ask for an extension to keep Giordano there longer. Authorities are not convinced he is telling the whole truth about exactly what happened to Gardner.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep202011

Robyn Gardner Also Bought Insurance Policy: Suspect's Lawyer

Gary Giordano's attorney, Jose Baez, says both parties took out insurance policies before Robyn Gardner disappeared on August 2. Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- The attorney for Gary Giordano says the now-missing U.S. woman his client traveled to Aruba with last month, Robyn Gardner, also took out her own insurance policy for the trip.

"Yes, the two of them had policies on each other," Jose Baez, the newly hired defense attorney for Giordano said on ABC's Good Morning America. "Now, of course, since Gary was paying for the trip, Gary was the beneficiary of Robyn's policy."

Giordano submitted an insurance policy on Gardner July 30, one day before the pair, who met on an online swingers' website, left for a weeklong trip to Aruba.

Gardner, 35, has been missing since Aug. 2. Giordano, 50, has told authorities that the two went snorkeling and that the Maryland woman was swept out to sea by a strong current.

Baez told ABC News it was not uncommon for his client to take out insurance before going on a trip.

"Every time Mr. Giordano has traveled this year, whether it's been with Robyn Gardner or other individuals, he, in fact, had another companion that he traveled with, he got the same insurance," said Baez, the same attorney who represented Casey Anthony in her recent murder trial.

He also fought back against claims from the prosecution and Gardner's family and friends that Giordano was eager to cash in on the $1.5 million insurance policy on Gardner.

Giordano contacted the insurance company four times in the days after Gardner vanished.

"They're not life insurance policies," Baez said. "What they are basically are travel insurance, so what this covers is medical, dental, car rental and a whole slew of other things, including accidental death."

Giordano, of Gaithersburg, Md., has denied any wrongdoing in connection with Gardner's disappearance. He was arrested Aug. 5 and is being held by police in Aruba as the investigation into Gardner's presumed death continues.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep142011

Natalee Holloway's Dad Wants Her Declared Legally Dead

Joran van der Sloot, the man suspected of killing Natalee Holloway. Sebastian Silva/AFP/Getty Images(ORANJESTAD, Aruba) -- Natalee Holloway's father has served papers on her mother seeking to have the teenager, who disappeared during a senior class trip to Aruba in 2005, declared legally dead.

Court papers obtained by ABC News indicate that on April 19, 2011, Dave Holloway signed papers seeking a "petition for presumption of death for persons missing for more than five years."  Natalee Holloway vanished on May 30, 2005, more than six years ago, at age 17.

The request was actually filed in probate court on June 21.  The court documents state that a hearing on the father's request is scheduled for Sept. 23.

The missing teen's mother, Beth Holloway, spoke briefly to ABC News and said she does not intend to agree to have her daughter declared legally dead.

"No, I want to get to the bottom of what's going on from Dave," she said.

Dave Holloway could not immediately be reached for comment.

Beth Holloway has been relentless in her efforts to find out what happened to her daughter, even slipping into a Peruvian prison to confront Joran van der Sloot, the Aruban man suspected of killing Natalee.

At one point, she agreed to a sting, seemingly complying with van der Sloot's demand for cash in exchange for information about the location of her daughter's body.  The transaction was monitored by Aruban authorities, but van der Sloot left the island before the FBI filed extortion charges.

Before van der Sloot could be arrested on extortion, he was arrested in Peru and charged with killing a woman, Stephany Flores Ramirez, on May 30, 2010, the fifth anniversary of Natalee's disappearance.  He has been in a Peruvian prison since.

Natalee Holloway was on the last day of a graduation trip to Aruba with her senior class at Mountain Brook High School in Alabama when she did not return to her hotel.  She was last seen in a car with several people that included van der Sloot.

Extensive searches were carried out on the island and surrounding waters, often with Beth Holloway pleading publicly for someone to come forward and hectoring officials to keep on searching.  The case was closed by Aruba police in 2007, but reopened in 2008 after van der Sloot was caught on video telling someone that he disposed of her body.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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