WASHINGTON – An American businessman detained for four months after the presumed death of his traveling companion in Aruba said Thursday he had nothing to do with her disappearance.
Gary Giordano, 50, was released from jail Tuesday, and on Wednesday, an appeals court ruled that prosecutors lacked sufficient evidence to continue holding him in the disappearance of Robyn Gardner.
During an 11-minute interview Thursday on ABC's "Good Morning America," Giordano refused to detail what happened to Robyn Gardner on Aug. 2, the last day she was seen alive, saying he has told that story to investigators "50, 60 times." He has said she was swept out to sea while snorkeling. Her body has not been found.
Giordano, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, tried to clarify aspects of his behavior that investigators have called suspicious. He said the $1.5 million accidental death policy he took out on Gardner was part of a travel insurance package that covered both of them. He said he always takes out travel insurance because he wants his three sons to be protected if something happens to him.
"If I go traveling and I disappear, I want them to be covered. I maxed out on everything," Giordano said.
He said he inquired about the insurance two days after Gardner's disappearance on the advice of his former attorney, who told him he could be billed for expenses related to the search for her.
Aruban prosecutors still consider Giordano a suspect and are continuing to pursue the case with the assistance of the FBI. But they likely cannot return him to Aruba unless they intend to bring him to trial.
The case has been compared to that of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway, who disappeared in Aruba in May 2005 on the last night of her high school graduation trip to the island. Her body was also never found and the prime suspect, Joran van der Sloot, was detained for months before he was eventually released for lack of evidence. He is now facing trial in the killing of a woman in Peru.
Asked by "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts whether he had anything to do with Gardner's disappearance, Giordano said, "absolutely not." But he said he does have regrets. "A person that I cared about, a companion ... has disappeared on my watch," he said. "It will weigh heavily on me for a very long time."
Giordano spoke alongside his attorney, Jose Baez, with his three sons standing behind him. He was reunited with his sons Wednesday night in New York, ABC News reported.
After he found out Wednesday that the prosecutors' appeal was denied, he told ABC that he never expected to be freed.
"I'd accepted the fact that they were gonna keep me from my kids forever," Giordano said.