Man held in woman's disappearance in Aruba is released

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

Story highlights

  • Giordano was held in connection with Gardner's disappearance
  • He plans to return home to the United States, his lawyer says
  • Giordano was not formally charged in the case
  • Aruban authorities vow to continue with the investigation

Gary Giordano, a U.S. citizen held in Aruba in connection with the disappearance of a Maryland woman, was set free Tuesday after months in detention, Giordano's Aruban attorney Chris Lejuez told CNN.

Robyn Gardner was last seen in early August and Aruba's general prosecutor has vowed investigators will keep working "to get to the bottom" of what happened.

"We take this in stride," prosecutor Taco Stein said on Monday of a judge's decision to allow for Giordano's release. "We would have liked it to be different ... Of course, the investigation will continue."

A three-judge panel will hold a hearing starting at 11 a.m. Wednesday to assess the decision to release Giordano. Stein has acknowledged Giordano will likely will not be in the country then -- while insisting that, "if we need him again, we will seek extradition with the United States."

Giordano, 50, has not been formally charged in the case. He was arrested on August 5.

Aruban judges repeatedly granted requests to extend his detention while the investigation continued -- until Friday, when the judge rejected a prosecution bid to hold Giordano for 30 additional days.

Aruban judge rejects holding Giordano

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His U.S.-based attorney, Jose Baez, said in a statement last week that his client would "return home to his family in the United States."

According to statements from the prosecutor's office, Giordano said he'd been snorkeling with Gardner when he signaled her to swim back. 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."