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Aruban judge extends suspect’s detention

Frederick woman’s disappearance still under inquiry

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An Aruban judge ruled Monday that a Gaithersburg man suspected in the disappearance of a Frederick woman on the island can be held in custody for at least 16 more days.

Gary Giordano, 50, will continue to be held in Aruban authorities' custody after a judge approved two separate requests that each sought eight-day extensions to his detention, said Aruban Solicitor General Taco Stein.

Mr. Giordano has been held in custody since Aug. 5 on suspicion that he was involved in the disappearance of his 35-year-old traveling companion, Robyn Gardner of Frederick.

Ms. Gardner was reported missing by Mr. Giordano on Aug. 2, three days after they arrived together on the Caribbean island. Mr. Giordano, who works for an employment agency, told Aruban authorities the pair went snorkeling. But when he swam to shore he could not find Ms. Gardner, and he believed she may have been swept out to sea.

Inconsistencies in Mr. Giordanos account led authorities to place him in custody Aug. 5 to prevent him from leaving the island.

After this 16-day period of detention ends, prosecutors can ask that Mr. Giordano be held for 60 days while they prepare a case, but that would require more substantial evidence. Charges would be filed at the end of the 60 days if prosecutors took the case to court.

While an extensive search has been conducted in the ocean and along the coastline where Ms. Gardner was reported missing, her remains have not been found.

Aruban authorities no longer believe she is alive.

In a statement issued Sunday, Mr. Giordano's defense attorney, Michael Lopez, said the detention of his client, who he referred to by the initials G.G., was a violation of his human rights.

"Today, nine days later, four voluntary interviews, two site visits, and more than 30 statements coming from different sources including witnesses and professionals, we can not deduce that there is hard proof to sustain a demand by the public prosecutor against our client," Mr. Lopez said.

On Friday night, FBI agents searched Mr. Giordano's million-dollar home, but the agency has declined to comment on the findings of the search. Aruban law- enforcement officials requested the aid of the FBI in the investigation last week.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

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