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Aruba judge orders release of suspect in Robyn Gardner's death

A judge in Aruba has ordered the release of a U.S. businessman detained in connection with the August death of his traveling companion.
/ Source: NBC News and news services

A judge in Aruba on Friday ordered the release of U.S. businessman Gary Giordano, who was detained in connection with the August death of his traveling companion.

The judge said Giordano, a 50-year-old employment agency owner from Gaithersburg, Maryland,  must be freed on Tuesday without any conditions.

He has been in jail since Aug. 5 while investigators sought more time to gather and evaluate evidence in the death of 35-year-old Robyn Gardner, of Frederick, Md.

Aruban Solicitor General Taco Stein said that an appeal was filed later Friday and that a hearing could take place Monday.

"If you file a charge then you have to write the suspicions you have, and that means you have to be clear about what exactly has happened," Stein told NBC Washington.

"As long as we don't have the body or we don't have trace evidence or we don't have the material to bring us to a conclusion on that, it's very difficult to make a charge, because the only thing at this point in time you can say is she went missing on the second of August and we presume she's dead but we don't have evidence to that effect," he added.

"We feel that a crime has been committed," Stein said. "We still see Mr. Giordano as the main suspect in that."

Stein added that Giordano could be extradited back to Aruba if prosecutors felt they had enough evidence to go to court.

Giordano has said that Gardner was swept out to sea on Aug. 2 while snorkeling. Her body has not been found.

Investigators developed Giordano as a suspect because he tried to cash in on a travel insurance policy he took out on Gardner and there were inconsistencies in his story, authorities have said.

Giordano was initially detained Aug. 5 at the airport before he could leave the island and his detention has been extended several times since then.

"It's our intention and our determination to continue this investigation and to see to it to bring about the truth, not only for the island but especially for the relatives of Robyn, especially this time of year with the holidays coming up," Stein told NBC Washington. "It must be very hard on them that this situation still exists."