Suspicion of Gary Giordano mounts in Aruba
Gary Giordano's mugshot in Aruba, and Robyn Gardner is seen in inset / AP Photo/Aruba's Police
Aruban investigators have postponed until early next week a massive, island-wide search for Robyn Gardner, saying they needed more time to prepare, reports CBS News Correspondent Kelly Cobiella.
It's been 18 days since the 35-year-old from Frederick, Md. vanished.
Investigators believe Gardner is dead, and that her travel companion, Gary Giordano, 50, of Gaithersburg, Md., is responsible.
The two arrived on the island July 31 for a five-day getaway, after meeting online.
Giordano claims they went snorkeling August 2 off Baby Beach, and strong currents swept Gardner out to sea.
But the waters were calm that day, and no one remembers seeing Gardner at that beach.
Her ex-boyfriend, Richard Forester, doesn't buy Giordano's explanation. "I just don't think she was snorkeling. I feel in my heart that something happened at this person's hand," Richard Forester told CBS News.
Just two days after he reported her missing, Giordano is said to have tried to cash in on a $1.5 million insurance policy he took out on Gardner before the trip.
And, apparently, Giordano asked at least one other woman to accompany him to Aruba, Beth Karas, a correspondent for TruTV's "In Session," told "Early Show on Saturday Morning" co-anchor Rebecca Jarvis.
The investigation has extended all the way back to Giordano's Maryland home, where FBI agents executed a search warrant a week ago.
Giordano is being held in Aruba while prosecutors try to build a case against him.
Investigators found explicit pictures of Gardner on Giordano's camera, but little else.
They plan to release a photo of the couple's rental car, in the hope someone remembers seeing the two together.
Karas says police "are definitely looking at" Giordano's moves with respect to the insurance policy, "but it's not suspicious to take out travel insurance. That's what this was, and the accidental death benefit, $1.5 million, through American Express ... he could have taken out $2 million, or even$3 million if he'd paid more. But he took out $1.5 million, not the maximum.
"What's suspicious, though, is that, two days after she's reported missing -- and the reporting of her being missing alone is suspicious, because he didn't do it immediately -- is that he's inquiring about the benefits on Aug. 4, while the police are still looking for her. He's still in Aruba, and he's talking to them as though she's dead, and he wants to start the process of collecting on benefits, or he's making inquiries about it. That is what is suspicious. There's time to do it. You don't need to do it within less than 48 hours; it had been about 36 hours since she was reported missing when he was making these inquiries."
To firm up their case, Karas observed, investigators "want the body, you need to find her dead or alive. But without that, it doesn't mean they don't have a case, because cases are built all the time, a circumstantial evidence case. You can prosecute without a body, assuming she's indeed dead, and they do believe she is.
"They can talk to anybody who's had contact with them on the island. They've searched his home, they have to see what kind of preparations he made. Did he premeditate this, if indeed it's a murder, by taking out the insurance policy?
"He made statements to other women who have come forward, wanting to take the daughter of a woman who was a model to Aruba, (saying to the mother) 'This isn't going to be a Natalee Holloway situation, don't worry, I'll take care of your daughter.' (It's) a little bit strange for him to say that, and (then) here, there is a situation reminiscent of Natalee Holloway's death.
"They'll be looking for forensic evidence at their hotel room, people who last saw them at the restaurant where they were until 4:00 p.m. that day. They're searching for her clothing, blood, any type of forensic evidence, her hair. DNA in her room that they shared isn't unusual, she stayed in the room, but the source of the DNA could be."
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