Video: New clues emerge in Aruba’s missing woman case

  1. Closed captioning of: New clues emerge in Aruba’s missing woman case

    >>> authorities in aruba has announced plans for an extensive search connected to the mysterious disappearance of an american woman robyn gardner as prosecutors build their case against the maryland man being held now as a suspect. here's nbc's janet shamlian with the latest.

    >> reporter: a long way from his million dollar home in maryland, this aruban prison is gary giordano 's bed and breakfast for at least the next two weeks. seen here with a shirt over his head after judge held him in the disappearance of robyn gardner . it's vam lock you where joran van der sloot was held. now it's the case of another missing american woman that has put aruba 's legal system back in the spotlight.

    >> people might think aruba is a perfect place or a perfect crime because twice people disappear and they don't solve the crime.

    >> reporter: he covers the holloway case and is reporting on this one for aruba 's largest newspaper. he said giordano could leave the island a free man.

    >> how much does the prosecution have to come up with to bind him over the next time?

    >> they will have to be able to come up with something new, something extra, but in my experience in the other case, natalie holloway , they kept 60 days, also, and without really something extra, something big.

    >> reporter: the fact giordano is an american and considered a potential flight risk could work against him.

    >> foreigners you can keep much easier in jail here. somebody from aruba .

    >> reporter: giordano 's attorney has consistently said his client is not guilty, is cooperating with authorities, and should be released.

    >> if giordano gets out and returns to the united states , it's going to make it much more difficult for prosecutors in aruba to bring him back, to charge him with a crime if, in fact, new evidence comes to light.

    >> reporter: as legal process continues, so does the search. police are still combing through parts of the island. so where do you hide something on a small island like aruba , 19 miles long and 6 miles wide? just driving around, we found abandoned wells and mines like this one. it is at least 25 feet deep and it's pitch-black down there. you can't see the bottom. another a. number of areas are uninhabited, desert like, and a road less traveled. and out to sea, an ocean of possibilities. sometime next week they will launch a more extensive recovery search, but that will be three weeks after robyn gardner went missing and it is going to be considered a recovery. savannah, they will be looking for a body. back to you.

    >> janet shamlian in aruba this morning. thank you.

    >>> judge is a former district attorney about county judge . good morning to you. it's nice to have you here. let's start with that big ultimate question . there is no body here. aruban authorities believe robb begin gardner has passed away. you have at most it would seem conflicting statements, perhaps a questionable story from mr. gardner , is that enough to charge him with murder?

    >> the fact that they haven't charged him with murder is an indication, given the new search today, they are scrambling for evidence. make no mistake, savannah, they truly believe they have their man. the question is do they have the evidence? and so what they're going to do is they're going to use the whole period that the aruban law allows to get more evidenced. and amazingly, the judge gave them double the time they requested. what does that tell you? it tells you that judge was part of the investigation, believes that there is a solid case here. you've got a guy who clearly was the last one to see her, he's making statements that, according to the locals, don't make sense, and you've got a guy who has a history of violence toward women. orders of protection, not one woman, two, four or five women.

    >> you layout a circumstantial case. as you know, the aruban legal can only hold this person a certain period of days after the initial detention. maybe up to 60 days before charging him with something.

    >> right.

    >> if he is released and he goes back to the united states , how difficult would it be for aruban authorities to bring him back to aruba to ultimately face a murder charge if they get more evidence later?

    >> right. it will not be difficult at all because we have an extradition treaty with aruba . and understand that this case involves the fbi almost right at the beginning. so the united states is basically saying to the aruban government, we will do whatever we can to assist you. aruba needs the united states , also, because they don't want to be known as the island where american women or tourists disappear. so it will not be difficult to get him back. i don't think he's ever going to leave. they just got 16 days . they can ask for another 60-day hold. the evidence is there. everything coming out of the prosecutor's mouth indicates they're trying to decide the degree of the crime, not to whether to charge him with a crime.

    >> the judge ordered to give a dna sample. as far as we know there is no forensic evidence for them to match that dna evidence with yet. you think the prosecutor's is feeling about the strength of their case?

    >> i think that what they're doing now is they requested dna because they're hoping to find some evidence with this late esst renewed launch for evidence. more than that, i think they know they're charging him and the prosecutor says, we'll use it down the line if we don't try something to match it up to. this is clearly a loud signal, we're charging this guy. give us a few more days.

    >> they've got their guy. all right. good to have you here. thank you.

updated 8/17/2011 8:15:17 AM ET 2011-08-17T12:15:17

A judge ruled Monday that Aruban prosecutors have enough evidence against an American tourist to continue holding him while they investigate the disappearance of his travel companion.

Police led Gary V. Giordano, a 50-year-old businessman, into a van to be taken to jail after the closed hearing inside the police station where he has been held since he was arrested while trying to leave the Dutch Caribbean island.

Story: Aruba defense lawyer: Release US man held in Robyn Gardner case

The officers covered Giordano's head with a blue and white towel in an attempt to shield him from reporters and photographers waiting outside the station, where the closed court hearing was held.

Prosecutors had submitted two requests to extend his detention for eight days each. The judge took the unusual step of approving both simultaneously, rather than waiting for the first to expire, "because of the seriousness of the case and of the importance of the investigation," Solicitor General Taco Stein said.

Giordano, who is from Gaithersburg, Maryland, has told police that his travel companion, 35-year-old Robyn Gardner of Frederick, Maryland, disappeared while they were snorkeling Aug. 2 off the southern tip of Aruba. Authorities said they detained him as he tried to leave the island three days later because of questions about his account of what happened.

Image: Gary V. Giordano
U.S. citizen Gary V. Giordano, 50, of Gaithersburg, Md., is shown on an Aruba police mugshot.

Prosecutors continue to investigate
Prosecutors believe Gardner is dead but her body has not been found and authorities have appealed to the public for assistance, hoping witnesses who saw them on the island can help investigators determine what happened to her.

"We keep on the investigation and we hope that our appeal to the public will yield information," Stein said.

Outside the court, Giordano's defense lawyer, Michael Lopez, would say little about the decision. "There are too many unanswered questions," he told reporters, declining further comment.

Video: Best friend ‘ready to fight’ for missing woman (on this page)

Earlier Monday, Lopez told The Associated Press that his client should be released.

"Based on the evidence I have seen, my conclusion is that the prosecution does not have enough evidence to hold my client in detention," he said.

Gardner's mother, Andrea Colson, praised the handling of the case by Aruban authorities and echoed the call for witnesses to come forward with information that might help the investigation.

"We are confident in the decision made by the Aruban authorities to keep Gary Giordano in custody," Colson said in a written statement after the detention ruling. "... We just want to find our daughter, and we continue to ask the public for any tips they may have in helping our Robyn come home."

Aruban law, which is based on the Dutch legal system, requires prosecutors to seek authority to detain suspects for specific amounts of time to allow for an investigation.

After this 16-day period of detention ends, prosecutors can ask that Giordano be held for 60 days while they prepare a case, but that would require more substantial evidence. Charges would be filed at the end of the 60 days if prosecutors took the case to court.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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