- Giordano remains the prime suspect, Aruban authorities say
- A three-judge panel denies an appeal from prosecutors
- Gary Giordano was held in connection with Robyn Gardner's disappearance
- He is not formally charged in the case
A U.S. citizen held nearly four months in Aruba in connection with the disappearance of a Maryland woman returned to the United States on Wednesday, his attorneys said.
Gary Giordano, 50, left the island Wednesday morning for an undisclosed destination, said Giordano's Aruban attorney, Chris Lejuez.
"I understand that upon his arrival to the states he cried," Lejuez told CNN.
A three-judge panel in Aruba on Wednesday denied an appeal from prosecutors who wanted Giordano, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, to remain in detention.
"He is extremely happy to be back in the United States. He is looking forward to time with his family," said Michael Wright, spokesman for Giordano's U.S. attorney, Jose Baez.
Robyn Gardner, 35, 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.
The prosecutor's office Wednesday said it was "disappointed" with the appellate decision and emphasized that Giordano remains its prime suspect.
"We are continuing to devote significant resources to the ongoing investigation not only here in Aruba but also in the U.S., with the continuing cooperation of the FBI," it said in a written release.
"We understand that this will be very disappointing for the Gardner family. We sympathize with them. They can rest assured that we are committed to pursuing this matter to its conclusion, and know our entire government shares that commitment," the statement said.
Prosecutor Taco Stein earlier this week said of Giordano, "If we need him again, we will seek extradition with the United States."
Giordano, who has declared his innocence, has not been formally charged in the case. He was arrested on August 5 and released Tuesday.
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.
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."