The attorney for a man being held in Aruba for the disappearance at sea of Robyn Gardner claimed today that there is no evidence that his client committed murder.
Gary Giordano, 50, is being held as a suspect in the disappearance of Gardner, 35, of Frederick, Md., who vanished in the same Aruba town where another American woman, Natalee Holloway, disappeared six years ago.
Giordano and Gardner traveled together to Aruba July 31, according to Aruba police.
Giordano has claimed that the two went snorkeling together around 6 p.m. on Aug. 2, but Giordano returned back to shore amid rough currents and realized Gardner had not returned to shore with him. He alerted Aruba police who searched the area with ships, helicopters and divers, but did not find any sign of Gardner.
Giordano was originally treated as a witness to a drowning and was told by police he was allowed to leave the island, according to Taco H.W. Stein, spokesperson for the Aruba prosecutor's office. However, when parts of Giordano's story did not add up, they decided to arrest him, Stein said. He was arrested Friday as he attempted to board a flight to the U.S., according to police.
"He was first interrogated as a witness and in that position, he was told he was free to leave," Stein said.
"In evaluating his statements later on, we decided there were some things that were not correct and that changed our position towards him to seeing him as a suspect. At that point in time we decided that we wouldn't want him to leave the island," Stein said.
He said police are reviewing security tapes of Giordano and Gardner from the island for their investigation.
Giordano's attorney in Aruba, Michael Lopez, said there is no evidence that supports a murder charge for his client.
"They suspect murder but there's no proof, to my knowledge," said Michael Lopez, Giordano's attorney in Aruba. "I don't see any proof. There's no proof and no motive."
Natalee Holloway's Mom Gets Involved
The Natalee Holloway Resource Center, a foundation started after Holloway's disappearance, has been offering help to Gardner's boyfriend, Richard Forester.
"It strikes a chord close to home because that's where my nightmare began, the day I got the call in 2005," Beth Holloway, mother of Natalee, told ABC News. "We want to be a first responder to these families, we want to be there to help them. "
Gardner's boyfriend, Richard Forester, told ABC News that his girlfriend said she was leaving on a family vacation. Despite the circumstances of her disapperance, he is heartbroken. He 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.
"The last message I got from her was 'I love you, we'll talk and sort things out when I get back,'" he said. "I feel in my heart that something happened at this person's hand."
"All I can imagine is that while she was there, whatever was happening to her, she was screaming for me and I wasn't there," Forester said.
Maryland court documents show that a Gary Giordano there has a criminal record, including two orders of protection taken out by women that claimed he was violent. One was taken out by his ex-wife during their divorce procedings.
Two women who say they dated Giordano told "Good Morning America" he was terrifying, and another woman said Giordano stalked her.
"He was like following me, stalking me, and it freaked me out," said the woman, who wished to remain anonymous.
Beth Holloway knows the dread Gardner's family must be feeling and had advice for them.
"I think about just the devastating, unimaginable nightmare ahead," Holloway said. "Being in a foreign destination is the most incomprehensible [situation], the language barriers, the foreign government. All of the documents are in Dutch, it's Dutch law, and there's not a homeland connection during the process."
Holloway encouraged the family to ask Aruba to involve the FBI, she said.