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Lawyer: Man accused in woman's disppearance in Aruba will appeal

From Martin Savidge, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Attorney Michael Lopez says the appeal will be filed in Aruba on Monday
  • On Wednesday, a judge ordered Gary Giordano held another 60 days
  • He is a suspect in the disappearance of Robyn Gardner, 35, also of Maryland

Oranjestad, Aruba (CNN) -- A Maryland man, detained in Aruba in connection with the disappearance of an American woman, plans to appeal a recent ruling keeping him behind bars for another 60 days, his lawyer said Thursday.

Michael Lopez, attorney for Gary Giordano, told CNN that he and his team will work through the weekend to file their appeal in an Aruban court Monday.

That would set up a legal showdown as early as next week, when a three-judge appellate panel could affirm the earlier ruling and keep Giordano in custody or else set him free.

The 50-year-old Giordano was taken into custody by Aruban police on August 5, three days after Robyn Gardner, 35, who is also from Maryland, was last seen near Baby Beach on the western tip of the Caribbean island.

After a detainment hearing Wednesday morning, an Aruban magistrate ruled that Giordano continue to be incarcerated in the case.

The magistrate's brief order did not elaborate on the decision beyond saying the suspect, identified by his initials of G.V.G., was "suspected of involvement in the possible drowning of the American woman," and that the custody extension "was done on request of the Prosecutor's Office."

Lopez said that he informed his client by phone of the magistrate's decision to keep him detained. He added that the two will meet Friday in the prison where Giordano is being held.

The magistrate's decision was not the first time that Aruban justices assented to prosecutors' request to keep Giordano in custody. On August 15, a judge ruled that there was enough evidence to keep Giordano detained for another 16 days as police continued to investigate Gardner's suspected death.

Gardner has not been found, although search efforts are ongoing.

The missing woman and the suspect arrived on the island July 31 from the United States, according to Aruban prosecutors.

Giordano, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, told authorities that he was snorkeling with Gardner and signaled to her to swim back, according to a statement from the prosecutor's office. When he reached the beach, Gardner was nowhere to be found, he allegedly said.

According to a transcript of a police interview, obtained by CNN, Giordano told police that he feared for his life when he signaled for Gardner to turn back and didn't look for her as he swam for shore.

"I only looked back when I hit a rock," the document quotes Giordano as telling investigators. "Before that, I did not look back. I was only busy saving my life."

Giordano has told authorities that he is the beneficiary of a $1.5 million accidental death insurance policy tied to Gardner, a local official told CNN.

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