CRIME

Missing in Aruba: Judge orders Giordano held in Aruba

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(AP, ABC7) – A judge in Aruba ordered the man detained in the suspected death of his travel companion Robyn Gardner to be held for 16 more days as prosecutors build their case, prosecutors said Monday.

Gary V. Giordano

Investigators say they need the additional time to investigate Giordano. Prosecutors have said he is a suspect in the death of travel companion Robyn Gardner.

The Natalee Holloway Foundation, named for the Alabama teenager who disappeared on the island in 2005, is asking anyone in Aruba who saw Giordano and Gardner together to come forward.

“We are confident in the decision made by the Aruban authorities to keep Gary Giordano in custody, and we continue to be pleased with the way they have handled our daughter’s case,” Gardner’s mother Andrea Colson said in a written statement. She said the family hopes their daughter may still be alive, and that they are grateful for the worldwide support. The family is not speaking to the media at this time, the statement said.

The court hearing was held behind closed doors Monday at the jail where Giordano is held.  Michael Lopez, the Aruban lawyer for Giordano, had requested that Giordano be freed because prosecutors lack evidence against him.

"We cannot deduce that there is hard proof to sustain a demand by the public prosecutor against our client," Lopez had said earlier.

Giordano, a 50-year-old business owner from Gaithersburg, Maryland, has granted four interviews to investigators and accompanied them twice on visits to the area where he said Gardner disappeared while they went snorkeling, Lopez said in a written statement.

"To date, our client has given all possible cooperation to the investigation," he said. "Where our client has been asked the same question more than once he referred to previous statements."

Allegations of violence by past girlfriends of Giordano have surfaced. Two were granted restraining orders. "We argued about his past sexual lifestyle as a swinger ... he started to choke me with both hands shoved his fingers down my throat. I was struggling and gagging,” one woman stated in documents obtained exclusively by ABC News.

Another woman, Carrie Emerson, claims Giordano offered to take her to Aruba around the same time he was planning the trip with Robyn Garnder. When she refused to go, he “got very angry with me,” she says.

Aruban Solicitor General Taco Stein said Sunday that prosecutors intend to file a petition asking a judge to extend Giordano's detention for another eight days while authorities continue to investigate the case. Under the Aruban system, any charges would not be filed until later.

"I think there's probably a reasonable race against time that the police need to come up with enough probable cause to hold him in jail at least another eight days," said Brad Garrett, former FBI Special Agent.

Giordano has been in custody since August 5, three days after he claims Robyn Gardner disappeared while they were snorkeling.

Giordano, 50, a self-employed businessman and twice-divorced father of three sons, has denied any wrongdoing through his attorney since the disappearance of 35-year-old Robyn Gardner, who authorities believe is dead. Her remains have not been found, despite four days of searching the area where Giordano told officials an ocean current pulled her away Aug. 2.

FBI agents combed through Giordano's home Friday night in Gaithersburg, an upper-middle class Washington suburb. On Saturday, Solicitor General Taco Stein said a pink shirt and black sandals found during a search of an abandoned phosphate mine - near where Giordano told authorities Gardner disappeared - did not belong to the woman.

Gardner's brother had previously said that he doubts his sister would have been snorkeling for fear of damaging her hair or makeup. A woman who dated Giordano also doubts the story.

“He either has a toupee or a hairweave,” the woman said. “He definitely would not want to get it wet. There is no way he would go snorkeling.”

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