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Entries in Missing Woman (3)

Monday
Aug292011

Aruba Murder Suspect: Robyn Gardner 'Might Be Dead Now'

Handout Photo.(ORANJESTAD, Aruba) -- In the initial hours of searching for missing woman Robyn Gardner in Aruba, a reportedly drunken Gary Giordano looked down at his watch and said calmly to Aruban authorities, "She might be dead now."

Giordano has been jailed as the lone suspect in Gardner's disappearance, although he has not been charged with a crime. Giordano could be released Tuesday unless a judge orders otherwise.

Gardner, 35, was last seen alive Aug. 2 at the Rum Reef Bar & Grill in the Baby Beach area of Aruba. Giordano, 50, claimed Gardner got swept out to sea when the two went snorkeling.

Information obtained by ABC News reveals that the two travel companions drank heavily during their Aruban vacation, and that Giordano's behavior in the initial days following the Maryland woman's disappearance raised the eyebrows of investigators, and Gardner's mother.

When Giordano reported Gardner missing, he seemed extremely drunk, a local fisherman, Sergio Silva, told ABC News, although Giordano told police that the two never purchased alcohol at the restaurant.

"One of the police guys told us that he was so drunk that we got to wait, we can't talk to him now," said Silva.

ABC News has seen receipts that revealed that the couple ordered four Bloody Marys at 9 a.m. at the Orlando Airport on their way to the island, and that the two bought a liter of Ciroq vodka after they checked into their room at the Marriott Hotel in Aruba.

Along with the bar and hotel receipts, Giordano's calm demeanor -- and statements -- alarmed authorities and Gardner's mother.

A source told ABC News that when police spoke with Andrea Coulson, Gardner's mother, she told them Giordano had called her three days after her daughter went missing. He said, "I just got my socks and my shoes wet when I was looking for your daughter." In a statement, Coulson said she thought it was a strange thing to say given his previous account that the couple had been snorkeling when she vanished.

Several eyewitnesses have disputed Giordano's snorkeling defense.

A restaurant worker told ABC News that he found it odd to hear that the couple went snorkeling, because Gardner "seemed so perfectly put together," referring to her clothing, hair and make-up. The last photo of Gardner, obtained by ABC News, shows her wearing a flowing printed dress with her long, blond hair loose. Eyewitnesses said Gardner seemed woozy at the restaurant and barely ate her salad.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug252011

Aruba Murder Suspect Had Financial Woes

Richard Forester (Handout)(ORANJESTAD, Aruba) -- Gary Giordano was in serious financial trouble and tried to scam a company out of $5 million in the months leading up to his Aruba vacation with Robyn Gardner, according to an attorney who faced the last person to see Gardner alive in court.

"Just a few months ago he was telling the court here that he was in financial distress, with what I understood to be him making much less money than his bills," said Thomas Murphy, who represented a staffing company Giordano sued for $5 million in January 2010. "So I don't know how he could wind up taking a vacation to Aruba, which I believe is not an inexpensive destination," Murphy said.

Giordano is being held as a suspect in Gardner's disappearance, and last week investigators said they were looking into a $1.5 million travel insurance policy on Gardner that listed Giordano as the beneficiary. Aruba Solicitor General Taco Stein has said that they trying to figure out whether the insurance policy has any bearing on the case.

In the suit against the staffing company, Giordano was accused of forging documents in the lawsuit and later dropped the case. Murphy said Giordano made up a contract and tried to sue the company for not upholding it.

"I accused him of committing perjury, I accused him of fabricating documents, I accused him of the worst sort of behavior that I could think of," Murphy said. "My professional judgment about Mr. Giordano was that he was not to be believed at any level about anything."

"I absolutely believe that Mr. Giordano, based on my experience defending my client, that he is capable of manufacturing out of whole cloth a story and then pursuing it to abnormal ends," Murphy said.

Meanwhile, Giordano was also suing one ex-wife for $7,000 and going to court to have his child support payments lowered from marriage to his first wife, according to court documents.

Giordano, who lived in a million-dollar home in the wealthy D.C. suburb of Gaithersburg, Md., went to court in 2010 claiming that a change in his financial status made him unable to pay child support for his three children with his first wife. Murphy noted that Giordano told a judge his income was $4,500 a month while his mortgage payment was $5,000 a month. Murphy added that Giordano arrived to court in a Cadillac Escalade, a car that sells for upward of $60,000.

Maryland court records show Giordano had a history of theft from individuals in which he allegedly took amounts ranging from under $300 to more than $500. When he was arrested by Costco for shoplifting jewelry, he sued the company for false imprisonment, seeking $5,000, and lost, according to a source.

Giordano is being held in an Aruba jail as authorities there build a case against him. ABC News has reported that no one has come to visit Giordano since his arrest. Gardner's body has not yet been found.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Aug132011

Missing Woman in Aruba: Authorities Investigate Suspect's Allegedly Violent Past

Comstock/Thinkstock(ORANJESTAD, Aruba) -- A swarm of FBI agents searched the Gaithersburg, Md., home of Gary Giordano, who Aruba officials say is no longer cooperating in their investigation of the disappearance of his traveling companion, Robyn Gardner.

Investigators in Aruba are poring over surveillance tape and talking to witnesses, but none have provided conclusive evidence of what happened to Gardner, 35, who is presumed dead.

Suspicions regarding Giordano have risen after officials revealed that two of his ex-girlfriends had placed restraining orders against him.

One alleged, in court documents, that he choked her and stuck his hand down her throat after she objected to his swinger lifestyle. The other alleged that he posted photos and letters about her on neighbors' mail boxes, "threatened me and told me 'the world would be better off' without me and he could help."

ABC affiliate WJLA-TV also reported that authorities were trying to determine whether Giordano had bought a life insurance policy in Gardner's name. An ex-girlfriend told investigators that he forced her to sign a policy listing him as the beneficiary, according to the report.

Gardner's more than year-long, on-and-off relationship with Giordano, who is scheduled to appear in an Aruba court Monday, also was volatile, her friends said.

"It's been a real rollercoaster friendship. It's pretty hot and cold. One day nice, and the next day, not so nice," Christina Jones, Gardner's roommate and best friend, told ABC News' Good Morning America. He also habitually sent Gardner angry text messages, she said.

On July 31, Giordano and Gardner checked into a Marriott hotel on the Dutch Caribbean island.

Starting last Tuesday, police, fire and search teams scoured the caves and thick brush at Baby Beach where, Giordano said, he and Gardner were snorkeling Aug. 2 when ocean currents pulled her away from him.

After initially granting Giordano permission to leave Aruba, island police detained him just minutes before he was scheduled to board an Aug. 5 flight out of Aruba. Police doubted parts of his story, including the lapse in time between when witnesses saw the pair and Giordano reported Gardner missing.

Giordano denies any wrongdoing, said Michael Lopez, his attorney in Aruba.

Former FBI special agent Brad Garrett, an ABC News consultant, told Good Morning America that Giordano fits the profile of an "obsessional stalker."

"Their self-esteem is really tied up in controlling whoever is in their lives," Garrett said. "What happens is they push people so far [that] they pull back. When they pull back, he becomes more obsessive. He becomes more violent."

Earlier on Friday, Aruban officials said they do not believe Gardner is alive. Having recovered her passport, police said it's unlikely that she could have flown out of Aruba without it and they they have no evidence that she left by boat.

The Dutch-based judicial system in Aruba, where Alabama teen Natalee Holloway disappeared in 2005 and was never found, would allow the courts to extend Giordano's detention for up to eight days following Monday's hearing. After that, prosecutors must provide substantial evidence of the suspect's guilt to win a court order for Giordano to be held up to 60 days while they prepare to file a case against him.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio