Oct. 7, 2011 -- The defense attorney for Gary Giordano believes it is a waste of time for Aruban authorities to just now bring in cadaver dogs to search for the remains of his client's missing travel companion.
"I think it's grossly incompetent for cadaver dogs two plus months after the fact," Jose Baez told ABC's John Quinones. "Whatever scent of decomposition they expected to find is long gone."
Robyn Gardner, 35, has been missing from Aruba since Aug. 2. The man she was vacationing with, Gary Giordano, 50, has been detained there for five weeks now, not charged with any crime but being held for questioning.
Cadaver dogs were brought in from Holland last week to search the Aruban shores for forensic evidence and any sign of Gardner's remains. Giordano has denied any wrongdoing and claimed Gardner was swept out to sea while the two were snorkeling.
Baez earned nationwide fame after successfully defending Casey Anthony, the Florida woman found not guilty of murdering her 2-year-old daughter. He talked about his defense plan for Giordano's case.
"It's unfortunate what's happening to him and it angers me, which is why I got involved," Baez said.
There has been no welcome party for Baez in Aruba. For a nation that depends on tourism, a big shot attorney and another missing woman are unhelpful.
While Giordano has not been charged, questions have been raised about his possible involvement in Gardner's disappearance. Perhaps the most troubling is the $1.5 million travel insurance policy that Giordano had purchased for Gardner the day before they left for Aruba. He named himself as the only beneficiary.
Just days after Gardner went missing, Giordano called American Express Travel four times, asking about how he could redeem his policy. Police documents show that the American Express representative who took one of the calls said Giordano sounded excited, like he had "just won the lottery." The representative was so troubled by his behavior that the person called the police, but Baez called foul on the evidence and reiterated that Giordano's other attorney, Michael Lopez, had advised his client to call AmEx.
"I think if they're going to release the transcripts they should release the audio and then we can really hear for ourselves," he said.
Giordano can be legally held for questioning until Oct. 31, at which time he could be allowed to go back to the United States, unless a judge decides there is evidence produced to continue to keep him there.
The solicitor general of the island is now saying he plans to ask for an extension to keep Giordano there longer. Authorities are not convinced he is telling the whole truth about exactly what happened to Gardner.
From representing Casey Anthony to Gary Giordano, it would seem that Baez is attracted to high-profile, difficult cases. For now he remains defined by the case he hopes will eventually fade into a list of big wins.
"I look at each case as a challenge," Baez said. "You can't do this with passion if you don't have a sincere desire to help people."
Baez, seemingly, came out of nowhere. Born in New York and raised by a single mom on the tough streets of Little Havana, Miami, Baez was a high school dropout who got married at age 17.
"My girlfriend had gotten pregnant and I thought that growing up without a father was something that I had gone through...it was not something that I wanted my child to have to go through," he said.
His mother, who cleaned houses for a living, moved the family to Miami so that Baez and his three sisters could attend public school across the street from their house. After dropping out of high school, Baez earned his G.E.D., became a black belt in martial arts and joined the Navy. His service led him to college and eventually to law school. To this day, he still credits his mother for his success.
"I wouldn't be here if it weren't for her," Baez said. "I don't mean that in just the literal sense. I mean that in various ways. I think she just made so many sacrifices. She was a mom, dad, brother, sister, confidante, best friend."