Watch CBS News

Cloud Of Suspicion Hangs Over Md. Man In Robyn Gardner Disappearance

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- It's been three years since Robyn Gardner disappeared while vacationing in Aruba with a Gaithersburg businessman. Gary Giordano was the last person to see her alive. To this day, a cloud of suspicion hangs over him.

Now, he tells Mary Bubala what he thinks happened to the Maryland woman who vanished without a trace.

Vanished without a trace. Three years later, the mystery remains--what happened to Robyn Gardner?

August 2011--the last time the 35-year-old Frederick woman is seen alive. She took a secret getaway to Aruba with Gaithersburg businessman Gary Giordano. The two lovers go snorkeling off a secluded beach, when Giordano tells WJZ he realizes they've drifted out too far.

"I could tell it was getting deeper. I signaled for her to come back in as well as I. I turned, I became distressed because of the shoes I was wearing. And now looking back at it, I realized I was in a rip tide or a heavy current," Giordano said.

Surveillance video captures Giordano moments after he emerges from the water--alone. He goes back to the restaurant where they had just eaten lunch to get help.

"I came around to the side and found some people and I had them call the emergency number and we went back to the location and tried to find her and then people came--coast guards came, helicopters came--no sign of her," said Giordano.

Bubala: "You didn't seem panicked, you didn't go back in the water. It felt like you weren't worried about Robyn."

Giordano: "I just saved my life. You have to make a decision at some point. Do you run into the burning house or do you help somebody, do you go call for help?"

Bubala: "What do you think happened to her?"

Giordano: "She drowned. She simply drowned."

But police in Aruba suspect foul play and arrest Giordano as he's about to fly back home. He's imprisoned for four months, then a judge orders his release because there isn't enough evidence to hold him.

"She looked at me and she said, 'We're going to let you go,'" Giordano said.

But even though Giordano is a free man today, Aruban authorities tell WJZ they still consider him a suspect.

"The suspect is Gary Giordano. Giordano is accused of murder. The case is still open, but it is cold," said Ann Angela, Aruba Prosecutor's Office spokeswoman.

Bubala: "Did you kill Robyn?"

Giordano: "I didn't kill Robyn, never harmed her. We never even fought. We didn't fight. We had a great relationship."

To this day, Robyn's family and friends don't buy it. They can't believe the fun-loving woman who loved to travel just disappeared.

In an explosive confrontation on Dr. Phil, Robyn's sister comes face-to-face with Giordano for the first time.

"If you cared about Robyn you'd stay there longer and look for her. If it were my husband that was missing, I'd be there for a long time looking for my sister," said Danielle Colson-Unglesbee, Robyn's sister.

Three years later, a cloud of suspicion still hangs around Giordano. Is he a killer or a victim himself?

Bubala: "For some reason, people really think you killed her."

Giordano: "I had nothing to do with her disappearance--her drowning. I mean, she drowned. That's all there is to it. She didn't disappear, she isn't living somewhere else--she drowned."

Since Robyn's disappearance, two other Americans have drowned in that very same spot in Aruba, including a former NBA player. Now new warning signs are posted about dangerous rip currents.

WJZ will continue to follow the disappearance of Robyn Gardner and bring you any updates in the case.

Other Local News:

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.