The friend a Maryland woman was traveling with when she disappeared in Aruba last week is being investigated in connection with the case.
That friend, 50-year-old Gary Giordano, of Gaithersburg, Md., was the one who reported 35-year-old Robyn Gardner missing.
Giordano has been in court in Montgomery County multiple times, accused of domestic violence, according to public records.
Court records indicate that several former girlfriends of Giordano had taken out protective orders against him. In those documents, one woman said he had stalked her and made death threats. In another filing, a woman accused Giordano of slapping and choking her.
Giordano has also been arrested for shoplifting, after police said he stole armloads of electronic equipment from discount stores, and then drove away in a silver Mercedes station wagon.
Giordano reported her missing Aug. 2. He told authorities the two were snorkeling and when he swam back to shore, he didn’t see her.
Giordano’s attorney, Michael Lopez, said his client is being unjustly held, the Associated Press reported. Giordano told Aruban police that Gardner disappeared in strong ocean currents while they were snorkeling, a statement from the attorney says.
Giordano, who was detained while attempting to leave Aruba Friday, said he was leaving because he was told he wasn’t a suspect and didn’t have to stay, according to the statement to the AP.
“Our main focus isn’t search and recovery, it’s actually disseminating information to the media to get media’s involvement in reporting the case so there’s awareness throughout the country, internationally about this case and then help the families with a plan of action,” said Janine Vaccarello, of the Natalee Holloway Resource Center.
This is one of the first cases handled by the D.C.-based center, which was founded after Holloway’s disappearance in Aruba. The center is run by Holloway’s mother.
“She devoted her life, quit everything and stayed in Aruba for months searching for Natalee, so she’s basically taking that experience and helping others try to find their loved ones in similar circumstances,” Vaccarello said.
Anyone with information about the case should contact Aruba authorities at 011-297-597-5201.