Aruba Judge orders US man held in disappearance

A judge granted a request Monday from Aruban prosecutors to extend the detention of an American tourist suspected in the death of his travel companion during a short trip to the Caribbean island.

After a closed hearing inside a police station, the judge ruled authorities could detain Gary V. Giordano for at least 16 more days.

The prosecution had submitted two separate requests each seeking an eight-day extension, and the judge took the unusual step of approving both simultaneously rather than waiting until the first one expired, Aruban Solicitor General Taco Stein said.

Giordano has told police that his travel companion, 35-year-old Robyn Gardner, disappeared while they were snorkeling on Aug. 2 off the southern tip of Aruba.

Officials have said they believe she is dead but her body has not been recovered and authorities have appealed to witnesses to come forward who saw the couple together on the island.

"We keep on the investigation and we hope that our appeal to the public will yield information," Stein said after the ruling.

Defense lawyer Michael Lopez has said there is no evidence that Giordano, who is from Gaithersburg, Maryland, committed any crime during his short visit to Aruba.

"Based on the evidence I have seen, my conclusion is that the prosecution does not have enough evidence to hold my client in detention," Lopez said before the court hearing.