Aruba police and the FBI are scrambling to gather evidence in the disappearance of Maryland woman Robyn Gardner before Monday, when Gary Giordano, her traveling partner and the only suspect in the case, will go before a judge who may release him, according to Aruba Solicitor General Taco Stein.
Giordano's U.S. house will be searched today by the FBI, and Aruba authorities say they are combing through the data from electronic devices Gardner and Giordano had while on vacation. Stein said they are viewing surveillance video and asking any witnesses to come forward to obtain as much evidence as possible before Monday afternoon, when Giordano will go to court. If there is sufficient evidence, a judge can then order Giordano to remain in the country as a suspect for another eight days under Aruba law, Stein said.
According to a U.S. Customs agent, Giordano came within minutes of leaving Aruba Aug. 5 before he was arrested, having made it through Customs and onto what is considered US soil as he was about to board a U.S.-bound plane. Aruba police obtained permission from U.S. authorities to detain Giordano, the agent said.
Giordano, 50, of Maryland, is being held as a suspect in the case because of "serious inconsistencies" in his story about her disappearance, according to Stein. Giordano told police the two were snorkeling off Baby Beach and Gardner never returned to shore, but Stein said there is a gap in time from when witnesses spotted the pair on the beach and Giordano reported Gardner, 35, missing.
"When you don't have a body and you suspect that there's foul play, it's always a problem," Stein said.
He added that Giordano has stopped cooperating with authorities
Giordano's attorney in Aruba, Michael Lopez, was instructed by his client not to speak with the media, according to Lopez's office assistant. He had previously said there is no evidence and no motive to show that his client committed murder.
Giordano Stalked, Pressured Other Women to Go Away With Him
At least four women have said that Giordano was alarmingly aggresive toward them.
Carrie Emerson told ABC News that Giordano tried to contact her daughter, a model, claiming that he was a producer and wanted to take her to Aruba for a photo shoot. He became angry when she said refused his offer.
"He started telling me stuff like that he would protect her. He said, 'It's not going to be another Natalee Holloway or anything,'" Emerson said, referring to the Alabama high school student who disappeared on the island in 2005.
"He got very angry with me at that point. He started telling me that if I went and slept with him he would make sure I was taken care of well financially. He said that 'if you ever let your daughter sleep with me too, I'll take care of both of ya'll for the rest of your lives financially,'" said Emerson, who told her story to the FBI.
Another woman said Giordano pressured her to go on a cruise with him, and when she refused, he stalked her, showing up outside her window wearing a deer costume.
Aruba authorities are counting on the testimony of women from Giordano's past to help convince a judge to hold him in the country longer.
Gardner Knew He was Dangerous Giordano had a history of sending aggressive, angry texts to Gardner, according to her best friend and roommate.
Christina Jones said Giordano had previously asked Gardner to go on a cruise with him. When Gardner went away with Jones to New York instead, he flipped, Jones told ABC News.
"He was texting her while we were at breakfast, very angry at her because she decided she wasn't going to go on the cruise," Jones said. "And his responses by text, which I don't feel comfortable repeating, were aggressive, harmful, something that doesn't sit right within myself."
Jones said that her friend was aware that Giordano had a history of domestic abuse allegations, and that they had a "rollercoaster friendship."
When Gardner told Jones she was going to Aruba with the volatile Giordano, Jones said she questioned her friend.
"When she came to me and said, 'Hey, I'm going to Aruba,' I said, 'Cool, I'm so happy, get out of town, why wouldn't you?'" Jones said. "And then she said she was going with Gary, it became a 'Why? Why? Are you sure?'"
Gardner, who Jones described as trusting and sweet, reassured her friend that the trip would be fine. Gardner had recently lost her job as a dental assistant, and was having relationship issues with her boyfriend of two-and-a-half years, Richard Forester, Jones said.
"She made me feel better, that it was going to be okay and she was just going to clear her head," Jones said. "She was just so lighthearted about it and kind of needed to get away."
Jones said that Gardner and Giordano had an on-again, off-again relationship for over a year in which they would go out for drinks and be friendly for awhile, and then not talk for a few months.
"Some months she wouldn't even see him and then other months he'd weasel his way back in there, and you know, she's going to go grab a drink," Jones said. "Sometimes Robyn was very focused on having a solid relationship with Richard when things were good, and then you wouldn't hear about Gary."
Gardner, who has a tattoo on her shoulder, and Jones bonded because they stuck out in their small town because they both have tattoos, Jones said. Nevertheless, Gardner was the type that was hoping for a knight in shining armor, Jones said.
"You know, my gist on her was always, something great is going to come along with the white picket fence and everything, but it never came," Jones said.
Gardner's Boyfriend Skeptical of Giordano's Story Gardner's boyfriend says he doesn't "believe for a second" that his girlfriend vanished while snorkeling, and raised new allegations against the man being held as a suspect in her disappearance.
"I'm terrified," Forester told "Good Morning America" Thursday. "I've been hearing stories about Gary Giordano, that he's quite tech-savvy and is able to manipulate people's computers and track them and follow them."
"I don't believe she was snorkeling," Forester said today on "GMA." "I don't believe that for a second. She would be too concerned with getting her hair messed up, getting her makeup messed up. She's a margarita kind of girl, sit by the pool or on the beach and relax. I don't buy it."
Forester said that during Gardner's trip to Aruba, they kept in touch through Blackberry text messages and emails from her iPad until the day of her disappearance, including one message, in particular, that raised his alarm.
"On Tuesday morning, the 2nd of August, at about two in the morning, she posted on my Facebook wall, 'this sucks,'" he said. "I tried to figure out what was going on, but she didn't really respond. "
"The last time I heard from her was later on in the afternoon," he added. "She sent me a message saying, you know, 'I love you, we'll talk and sort things out when I get back.'"