Aruba probes insurance in Robyn Gardner case

(AP, ABC7) -{ }A source is confirming to The Associated Press that a Maryland businessman detained in Aruba had a $1.5 million insurance policy on his missing traveling companion and that he sought to collect on it shortly after she disappeared.

The source tells the AP that Gary V. Giordano purchased the accidental policy shortly before traveling to the Dutch Caribbean island with 35-year-old Robyn Gardner of Frederick, Maryland. The policy only covered the trip to Aruba, and included both travelers.

The source says Giordano tried to begin redeeming the policy just two days after telling police in Aruba that Gardner vanished while they were snorkeling.
Aruban authorities were preparing a massive search of the island Thursday for the missing woman's body or evidence in the case.{ }

Giordano mentioned the insurance during questioning, but authorities haven't determined whether it is relevant to their investigation into 35-year-old Robyn Gardner's presumed death, Solicitor General Taco Stein told The Associated Press.

"If you travel, you take out insurance. That's not an uncommon thing, to say the least," Stein said. "It all depends on what's in the policy."

Meanwhile, Aruban authorities are planning an extensive search for Gardner, using police, firefighters and possibly the military. The FBI has released a poster describing the missing woman.

Stein says they will be searching the southern part of the Dutch Caribbean island near where 35-year-old Gardner was reported missing by her travel companion. The operation is still being organized and is not expected to start for several days.

Stein told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the goal is to find Gardner's body or any evidence linked to her disappearance.

A law enforcement source previously told ABC7 News that at least one former girlfriend has claimed Giordano asked her to sign a policy before a trip.

As for Giordano, he has now been ordered held for at least 16 more days. Sources say he nearly made it out of Aruba after telling customs officials that Gardner was on another flight. He was reportedly drenched in sweat when he was arrested.