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Aruba suspect tried to redeem insurance policy on missing Robyn Gardner, says source

Robyn Gardner's travel companion cooperated with police, should be released, says lawyer
Robyn Gardner Personal Photo

(CBS/AP) SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Maryland tourist Gary Giordano tried to redeem a $1.5 million insurance policy on his missing travel companion Robyn Gardner shortly after she disappeared, according to an Associated Press source.

Pictures: Robyn Gardner

The source tells the AP that the 50-year-old Giordano purchased the accidental-death policy shortly before traveling to Aruba with 35-year-old Gardner of Frederick, Maryland. The policy only covered the trip to Aruba.

The source also says Giordano sought to redeem the policy just two days after telling police in Aruba that Gardner vanished while they were snorkeling.

Michael Lopez, Giordano's Aruban lawyer, said the two Americans had been in Aruba a couple of days when they decided to go snorkeling on Aug. 2 near an area known as Baby Beach. He said the pair eventually realized they were being pulled out to sea by the current. That is when Giordano tapped on Gardner's leg to signal that they should swim back. When he got to shore, Lopez says Giordano noticed she wasn't with him and ran to get help after looking for her in the water.

Giordano initially assisted the search but was detained at the airport as he tried to leave Aruba. Authorities said they had found discrepancies in his story.

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

The exact nature of his relationship with Gardner, who had a boyfriend back home in Maryland, isn't clear but the prosecutor's office has said the couple stayed in a room together at a Marriott hotel in Aruba.

Aruba authorities were preparing a massive search of the island Thursday for evidence in the case. They are also still searching for Gardner, who has now been missing for more than two weeks. 

Complete Coverage of Robyn Gardner on Crimesider