Suspect in Aruba disappearance back in United States

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 30, 2011 2:48 PM

MIAMI (Reuters) - A U.S. businessman held for nearly four months on the Caribbean island of Aruba as a suspect in the disappearance of his girlfriend, flew back to the United States on Wednesday, arriving at Miami airport.

Gary Giordano, 50, whom other passengers said flew first class on the American Airlines flight from the Dutch Caribbean island, did not speak to reporters in Miami and his final destination was unknown.

The Maryland businessman had been detained since early August by Aruban authorities as the main suspect in the disappearance of his companion, blond-haired 35-year-old Robyn Gardner, also from Maryland, who was last seen alive on Aug 2.

Giordano reported her missing, telling police Gardner was swept out to sea while they were snorkeling off Aruba. He has denied any wrongdoing. Her body has not been found.

A judge on the Caribbean island ordered Giordano's release on Tuesday on the grounds there was insufficient evidence to continue holding him, although Aruban prosecutors say they will appeal against the ruling.

Several U.S. media, citing Aruban authorities, reported that Giordano was the beneficiary of a $1.5 million accidental death insurance policy her allegedly took out on Gardner before they went to Aruba on vacation. With the disappearance unresolved however, it was not clear he could claim on any policy.

Gardner's disappearance gained additional media interest because it recalled the 2005 disappearance in Aruba of Alabama high school student, Natalee Holloway.

The main suspect in her disappearance, Dutch student Joran van der Sloot, is currently in a Peruvian jail awaiting trial on charges that he killed a local woman there.

(Reporting by Hans Deryk, Writing by Pascal Fletcher and Greg McCune)