Attorney seeks release of man held in Aruba disappearance

Story highlights

  • Attorney asks Aruban court to immediately release Gary Giordano
  • Giordano is being held in connection with disappearance of his traveling companion
  • Giordano says Robyn Gardner vanished in the water while they were snorkeling
  • Decision expected this week about date for a hearing on release petition
The attorney for Gary Giordano has petitioned a court in Aruba demanding the immediate release of the detained American.
Attorney Michael Lopez said in an e-mail news release, "(T)he Judge of Instruction was requested to set client G. Giordano immediately free from his detention or at least to postpone his detention until eventual sentence against him has been passed after trial." The motion was filed on Monday.
No hearing date has been set, but both Lopez's office and Taco Stein, spokesman for the prosecutor's office, said they expect to have a decision later this week.
An assistant to Lopez was not able to say on what reasoning this request was being made. But a source close to the case said the demand was based on grounds the investigation has found nothing new nor any evidence of a crime.
Giordano has been held in relation to the disappearance of his traveling companion, 35-year-old Robyn Gardner, who was last seen August 2. Giordano has maintained the pair went snorkeling on the southern end of the island and that Gardner vanished in the water after he returned to shore. Authorities say Giordano was the beneficiary of a $1.5 million accidental death insurance policy on Gardner, taken out just days before their trip.
The judge of instruction is expected to schedule a hearing on the petition. According to Stein, one possible compromise would be for the judge to order Giordano to be set free but to remain on the island until the conclusion of the investigation.
Stein said the results of forensic and electronic evidence sent to the Netherlands for examination are expected back this week. Of significant interest to investigators is what information may have been contained in a computer and two smart phones that were confiscated.
Authorities say a search done by specially trained dogs brought to the island from the Netherlands is complete. The dogs did give some indications of areas that may warrant further examination by investigators on foot. But these hits were described by Stein as "nothing major."