Aruba probes insurance in missing tourist case

AP News
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Posted: Aug 17, 2011 10:44 AM
Aruba probes insurance in missing tourist case

A U.S. tourist detained in the presumed death of his travel companion had an insurance policy that covered the missing woman, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Gary Giordano mentioned the travel insurance during questioning, but authorities haven't determined whether it is relevant to their investigation into 35-year-old Robyn Gardner's presumed death, Solicitor General Taco Stein told The Associated Press.

The policy included both travelers, but it wasn't clear whether it covered Gardner's accidental death, Stein said. Nor was it clear who was the beneficiary.

"If you travel, you take out insurance. That's not an uncommon thing, to say the least," Stein said. "It all depends on what's in the policy."

Giordano, a 50-year-old businessman from Gaithersburg, Maryland, traveled to Aruba with Gardner on July 31 and reported her missing two days later, saying she disappeared while the two were snorkeling. He assisted the search but was detained at the airport as he tried to leave the country because of questions about his account of what happened.

A judge ruled Monday that there is enough evidence to hold him for at least 16 more days on suspicion of involvement in Gardner's presumed death.

Aruban authorities plan an extensive search involving police, firefighters and possibly the military as investigators try to determine what happened to Gardner.

The search is expected to start later this week and would be centered around the southern part of the Dutch Caribbean island near where Gardner was reported missing. Police and firefighters searched an abandoned phosphate mine in the area but did not find any trace of her.