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Aruban judge again extends Giordano detention

- The Washington Times - Friday, October 28, 2011

An Aruban judge on Friday ordered a Gaithersburg man suspected in the disappearance of a travel companion detained for an additional 30 days, according to prosecutors.

Gary Giordano, 50, has been held 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.

"The investigation is still ongoing and results are still awaited of various research activities that are carried out abroad," prosecutors said in a statement. "The results of these activities will be studied by the investigative team and incorporated in the investigation."

Aruban Solicitor General Taco Stein said in September, the last time Mr. Giordano's detention was extended, had said that he expected the prosecutor's office to file charges against Mr. Giordano at the end of the 60-day period.

"Our client is innocent and there has been a lot of investigation already," attorney Chris Lejuez told the Associated Press in an interview outside court. "There is no evidence, and his life is being destroyed."

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.

Prosecutors said that in the past 60 days investigators had used sniffer dogs in their search for Ms. Gardner and that they had conducted a re-enactment of the facts of the incident.

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.

According to court records, Mr. Giordano claimed to have been in financial distress several months before the two traveled to Aruba together, and he had sought to reduce child support payments for his three sons.

In 2010, Mr. Giordano, who runs the temporary staffing business Leverage LLC out of his home, filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit on behalf of his company against another staffing company, claiming he was owed money for placing an employee.

The defendant company in the case contended in court papers that Mr. Giordano forged a signature to fraudulently produce the contract over which he later filed suit. Mr. Giordano dropped the lawsuit as it commenced to trial in March.

Suspicions were raised about whether there could be a financial motive to Ms. Gardner's disappearance after it came to light that Mr. Giordano sought to collect on a $1.5 million insurance policy taken out on Ms. Gardner before the two left on the trip.

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