- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 31, 2011

An Aruban judge on Wednesday ordered a Gaithersburg man suspected in the disappearance of a travel companion detained for an additional 60 days, according to prosecutors.

Gary Giordano, 50, has been detained since Aug. 5 on suspicion that he was involved in the disappearance and presumed death of Robyn Gardner, 35, of Frederick, Md.

Mr. Giordano has not been charged with a crime.

Aruban Solicitor General Taco Stein said he expects the prosecutor’s office to file charges against Mr. Giordano at the end of the 60-day period. Mr. Stein could not say Wednesday what those charges might be.

“The investigation is just continuing at this moment,” Mr. Stein told The Washington Times. “We’re not dwelling on it at this moment.”

The judge’s decision was not issued publicly, but Mr. Stein’s office released a statement about the hearing’s outcome.

Ms. Gardner left on a trip to the Caribbean island with Mr. Giordano on July 31. The two were supposed to return stateside Aug. 5. However, Mr. Giordano reported Ms. Gardner missing Aug. 2, claiming she was swept out to sea while the two were snorkeling.

The conditions of Mr. Giordano’s detention, which previously left him isolated, were changed Wednesday, Mr. Stein said.

“He is now allowed to have contact with family and lawyers,” he said.

Mr. Giordano’s Aruba-based attorney, Michael Lopez, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Ms. Gardner’s family issued a statement Wednesday afternoon asking anyone with further information about her to come forward.

“We have faith and confidence in the Aruban Authorities and FBI, and know that they will fervently continue their efforts to find Robyn,” said Ms. Gardner’s mother, Andrea Colson.

“We pray that anyone who knows what happened that day will find the strength to contact authorities immediately. And we continue to ask everyone to keep praying for our Robyn so that she will be found soon.”

The statement was released through the Natalee Holloway Resource Center, which provides outreach assistance to families of missing people. The center bears the name of an Alabama teenager who disappeared during a trip to Aruba in 2005.

Searches in Aruba have proved fruitless in turning up any sign of Ms. Gardner, though the last known photos taken of her show her leaving a restaurant in the company of Mr. Giordano just hours before he returned to the same restaurant to report her missing.

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