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 $1.5 million 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.”
NBC News reported Giordano admitted there's a possibility that he added on, raising the premium and the payoff on the accidental death portion of the policy.
Aruban authorities asked U.S. officials to look into the insurance policy and are studying the findings, News4’s Jane Watrel reported.
“If we come to the conclusion that part of what we are looking at, if this something other than normal travel insurance, then it may have bearing on the case,” Stein said.
Giordano, a 50-year-old businessman from Gaithersburg, Md., 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. On Tuesday, Stein said manslaughter charges are being considered.
“It must stand to reason by now, because we haven’t heard of her anymore, that she’s dead,” Stein told News4’s Jackie Bensen.
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.
From the FBI, only its Barbados-based legal attaché has gone to Aruba, officials said. Otherwise, the FBI has only assisted by searching Giordano's Gaithersburg home and conducting interviews in the U.S. The FBI can only provide support that is requested by Aruban authorities.