Suspect in disappearance likely will leave Aruba before hearing

Robyn Gardner has been missing since August 2, when she disappeared during a snorkeling trip.

Story highlights

  • Gary Giordano is set to be released from an Aruban jail Tuesday, then return to the U.S.
  • Aruba's solicitor general says a hearing will be held in Giordano's case on Wednesday
  • The hearing deals with the prosecution's appeal of a judge's decision to release the man
A hearing will be held Wednesday for the lone person suspected in connection with the disappearance of his traveling companion in Aruba -- one day after the suspect is expected to leave the Caribbean nation, Aruba's solicitor general said Saturday.
Gary Giordano's U.S.-based attorney, Jose Baez, had said in a statement Friday that his client would be released at 8 p.m. Tuesday after weeks in Aruban custody and "return home to his family in the United States."
Taco Stein, Aruba's solicitor general, told CNN on Saturday that Giordano "can stay and attend (Wednesday's) hearing, but I think he will most probably leave."
Scheduling the hearing a day after Giordano's release "is because these sorts of hearings always happen on Wednesdays, and the court did not want to make an exception," Stein said.
The solicitor general added that the likelihood Giordano won't be in Aruba for the Wednesday hearing "doesn't make it futile."
"If they do agree to issuing a warrant for his arrest, we will begin the process of extradition" from the United States, he said.
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Giordano, 50, has been identified by Aruban authorities as the lone suspect in Robyn Gardner's disappearance, though he has yet to be formally charged. The body of the woman, who was last seen on August 2, has not been found.
The Gaithersburg, Maryland, resident denies being responsible, insisting that he'd been snorkeling with Gardner when he signaled her to swim back, according to statements from the prosecutor's office. When he reached the Aruban beach, Gardner was nowhere to be found, he reportedly said.
"I only looked back when I hit a rock," Giordano told investigators, according to a transcript of a police interview obtained by CNN. "Before that, I did not look back. I was only busy saving my life."
He was later arrested, with Aruban prosecutors repeatedly asking a judge to allow Giordano to continue to be held as they investigated the case.
On Friday, a judge rejected a prosecution request to hold Giordano for 30 additional days.
Prosecutors immediately filed an appeal seeking to reverse the ruling and prevent Giordano from leaving jail, said Stein. A three-judge appeals panel will consider the matter Wednesday.
Giordano "couldn't believe" the decision because he had lost faith and confidence in the Aruban criminal justice system, his Aruban defense lawyer, Chris Lejuez, said Friday.
"When I asked him what he really thinks about his release, he started to cry and asked me to excuse him for a few minutes," the attorney said, adding that he believed Giordano will leave Aruba as soon as he is freed.