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Robyn Gardner Missing In Aruba: Authorities Seek To Detain Gary Giordano Longer

4:29 PM, Aug 12, 2011   |    comments
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UPDATE: 9 News Now spoke to Aruba Solicitor General Taco Stein by phone Friday afternoon to get the latest on the search for missing Maryland woman Robyn Gardner, and on Gary Giordano, who was detained by police in Aruba.

Stein says there is no active search like there was in the initial stages of Gardner's disappearance. He said:

"I've described it as a passive search. We started out full-fledged with boats, two helicopters, a plane, a dive team, some divers, the coast guard, some police officers of the uniform brigade, and some detectives near the vicinity near the shore. But we kept that up for a few days. She went missing on Tuesday and we kept this up until Saturday, to no avail. So after that we scaled down, and what we do at this moment, if we get specific information as this is researched, and if we now, from the new things we do in the investigation, ah, witness statements, if we get indications that they've been in a certain location they will be researched, too. But there is no active search going on at this moment."

On Giordano's status, Stein says authorities there consider him a suspect at this point. There is a court hearing on Monday and Stein says Giordano has been detained by police under the authority of a police commissioner, but on Monday that 10-day period will expire. They will need a court order to detain him longer, said Stein.

According to Stein, authorities will appear in judge's chambers with Giordano's attorney, and will file a petition before the investigating magistrate for an extension of eight more days. They expect a ruling at that time.

Giordano is not being charged at this time. Stein explained, "That's the difference in our systems. We charge someone only at the moment he is attending trial. Charging him will come at a much later date. We are now building a case, which means we are building the material to describe the charge at the end."

We asked if Aruban authorities had asked the FBI to search Giordano's home. Stein replied, "In our request to the American authorities there will probably be something about searching the house. But at this moment that request has not yet reached U.S. authorities. So if that place is being searched it's not on my account."

Stein said they will also need to furnish U.S. authorities with enough information to seek a search warrant from a judge in order to search the home.

Stein said it appears that Giordano and Gardner had a relationship that predates their two days together in Aruba.

"If that is the case there might be indications or information vital to the investigation in that home. We don't know but it's something we need to do," said Stein.

Investigators are interested in any evidence that could provide clues about what their relationship was like. Aruban authorities would like to hear from anyone in our area who knows Robyn Gardner or Gary Giordano or any information that could characterize what their relationship was like.

As far as evidence from Giordano's impounded rental vehicle, Stein told us they are looking for any trace evidence of who was in the car, and any evidence of foul play. Stein said that the Aruban authorities had seized items such as laptop computers and smart phones.

As far as whether Aruban authorities were interested in the court records in Maryland that appear to show a pattern of stalking, threats, abuse, etc., Stein said that could be useful if it could be evidence of a pattern of behavior.

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FREDERICK, Md. (WUSA) -- The FBI is helping Aruban authorities investigate the disappearance of 35-year-old Robyn Gardner of Maryland. The assistance includes conducting interviews and may soon include a search of her traveling partner's house in Gaithersburg.

In Gaithersburg Thursday afternoon, the FBI did not say whether it will be searching the home of Gary Giordano, her traveling partner, for possible clues about his relationship with Robyn Gardner. But Aruban prosecutors told CNN that they are requesting that the FBI help with the investigation, including searching Giordano's house in Maryland.

The relationship between with Gardner, who is from Frederick, and Giordano appears to have blossomed as Giordano was being accused by other women he dated of stalking, secret video taping and assault.

Family law attorney Gail Landau represented one woman who swore out a Peace Order against Giordano in 2010. According to an application for a search warrant, Giordano was arrested April 28, 2010 after one woman accused him of strangling her during sex, an encounter investigators said was on video. According to the application, the victim "was struck several times in the head, face buttocks and legs." She was also "digitally choked and subjected to manual strangulation during the event."

Another alleged victim claimed Giordano secretly videotaped her and "threatened to publish and distribute the recordings."

Giordano's place was searched last year as part of the investigation into the accusations. One of his neighbors said, "I just know that he has done some strange things. Nobody really wants to divulge what it is."

The search warrant ordered investigators to seize any other tapes in the home -- which has a security camera on the roof and a sign warning visitors they will be video and audio recorded at all times -- that might depict other victims of Gary Giordano.

In the end, prosecutors dropped both cases when victims declined to go forward.

Giordano then met Robyn Gardner on Match.com and they went on a getaway to Aruba. Her roommate in Frederick talked to the CBS Early Show on Thursday.

Thursday, in Gaithersburg, another alleged victim told 9NEWS NOW she dated Giordano briefly and was also terrified by his behavior, but did not go to police.

Landau's client, who does not want to be identified, remains afraid, but is reconsidering the possibility of moving forward with a criminal case against him if he returns from Aruba, Landau says.

Giordano is expected to hear from an island judge Friday whether authorities there can still hold him for questioning.

VIEW: Robyn Gardner Photo Gallery

Aruban prosecutors say that Giordano is no longer cooperating with the investigation and is claiming his rights not to talk. They also say they will be releasing Giordano's picture to help generate tips from the public.

Gardner was reported missing in Aruba last week, say officials with the Natalee Holloway Resource Center. Gardner was last seen on Tuesday, August 2nd at the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino in Oranjestad, Aruba.

The Prosecutor's Office in Aruba released the following statement Tuesday:

"On August 2, 2011 at about 6.23 PM (local time) 911 received notification of a possible drowning of a woman. The traveling companion of this woman, a man G.V.G. stated that they were going snorkeling behind Nanki Country Club and that at a given moment he had signaled his friend to swim back to the beach. He stated further that the woman had not reached the beach together with him and apparently had remained in the water.

The American woman in question is R.G, age 35, the man is indicated as G.V.G, age 50, also an American.

In spite of intense searches during a number of days by amongst others the surveillance department and the detective department of the Aruban Police, the Aruban Maritime Police, the Coast Guard, Search and Rescue Divers and volunteer divers of Jads and the use of two helicopters, an airplane and several boats, until now the woman has not been found in sea or on the shore."

Tuesday night, Giordano's lawyer, Michael Lopez, said in a written statement obtained by the Associated Press:

"Our client emphatically denies being involved in any malicious act concerning his friend and consequently does not consider himself a suspect."

According to the Associated Press, Lopez said that Giordano waited until her mother arrived before trying to return to the U.S. Giordano told him that an official at the U.S. consulate on nearby Curacao gave him permission to leave. Robyn Gardner's brother said Giordano appeared too calm when he met with her mother.

Wednesday, Aruban authorities called off the search for Robyn Gardner. Giordano has been detained as part of the investigation into her disappearance. Giordano's lawyer said Wednesday that his client was being unjustly held.

In Bethesda, Richard Forester, who says he is a serious boyfriend of Gardner, is among Gardner's friends beside himself with anxiety. Forester enlisted the help of the Natalie Holloway Resource Center to publicize the case in hopes of solving the mystery quickly.

Officials describe Colson-Gardner as 5'5" and 120 pounds, with blond hair and brown eyes. She has tattoos on her left arm (back of her shoulder to her elbow), her rib cage, and her right bicep.

If anyone has information leading to or about Robyn's location, please contact Fred Panneflek with the Aruban authorities at 011-297-597-5201.

Thursday, Gardner's family released this statement:

"Our daughter Robyn has been missing since August 2, 2011. We can only pray that she will soon be with us and bring back the joy into our lives. She means the world to us. We are hoping for the very best outcome with the help of the international community that we will reach a favorable outcome. We are confident and very grateful to the Aruba authorities and volunteers who are working above and beyond all our expectations. I hope you understand that we are being quiet as to not jeopardize the investigation. Please continue to pray for Robyn. Thank you."

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