(CBS) FREDERICK, Md. - Thursday marks the one year anniversary of Maryland woman Robyn Gardner's disappearance in Aruba.
The 35-year-old was reported missing on Aug. 2, 2011 by her travel companion Gary Giordano, who claimed she was swept out to sea while the two were snorkeling.
Aruban authorities conducted an exhaustive search but her body was never found.
Family and friends gathered inside a small Frederick, Md. art gallery Wednesday to mark Gardner's disappearance, reports CBS affiliate WUSA. Participants were adamant that Wednesday's service was not a memorial.
"The idea is to have a vigil for someone who is missing with the hopes that she's possibly still alive," said organizer and friend Christina Jones.
Giordano is the lone suspect in her disappearance but was never charged. He was jailed for four months in Aruba but was let go for lack of evidence. He has since returned to Maryland and has filed a claim with an insurance company for the $3.5 million life insurance policy he had taken out on Gardner.