A digital camera belonging to detained U.S. tourist Gary Giordano that was seized by Aruban authorities allegedly contains shocking images of travel companion Robyn Gardner, who is presumed dead by authorities after disappearing earlier this month.
The camera contains “graphic and disturbing images” that are “beyond pornographic,’’ sources told NBC News. The camera, along with Giordano’s cell phone and laptop, have been sent to the nearby island of Curacao for inspection by authorities.
Aruba Solicitor General Taco Stein, who is leading the case, confirmed to TODAY’s Matt Lauer in an exclusive interview on Thursday that a camera has been confiscated, but would not comment on the specific nature of the photos on it. However, from what he understands, Gardner does not appear to be in danger in the photos.
“What I’ve heard about it is that there is no indication that there is talk of duress in the pictures,’’ Stein said.Story: Md. man faces more questions in woman's disappearance in Aruba
Giordano, 50, arrived in Aruba with Gardner, 35, on July 31, and he reported her missing on Aug. 2 after the two had gone snorkeling in an area of the island usually frequented by locals rather than tourists. When he tried to leave the country after being questioned by authorities, he was detained at the airport.
On Monday a judge ruled that there is enough evidence to hold Giordano for another 16 days because of his potential involvement in the disappearance of Gardner, who is presumed dead.
In addition to the camera, a rock with a full handprint and blood on it has also been discovered, according to the NBC News report. It is unclear if the rock is connected to Gardner’s disappearance.
Giordano’s lawyer had no comment, as he reportedly has been told by Giordano that he will be fired if he appears on camera again speaking about the case.
Denial, not remorse
Giordano has allegedly been calm in his cell while being detained and has shown more anger over being implicated in Gardner’s presumed death than remorse over her disappearance.
“As far as I know, but as you say I haven’t been in direct contact with him, his demeanor is that he’s fighting these accusations,’’ Stein told Lauer Thursday. “He is denying what has happened. Remorse is not in the textbook at the moment.’’
The revelation about the camera came one day after it was learned that Giordano told authorities during questioning that he had taken out a travel insurance policy on himself and a $1.5 million policy on Gardner before their vacation. The policies reportedly pay out upon any case of accidental death.
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“We don’t know what was going through Mr. Giordano’s mind at the time he took this out, but it would seem this casual relationship is not one that would particularly call upon taking out a life insurance policy, especially if he made himself the beneficiary,” NBC News analyst Clint Van Zandt commented.
Giordano also has a troubled history involving women, including multiple restraining orders taken against him and allegations of domestic incidents. People magazine recently quoted Stein as saying: “He is a mean bastard. The way he treats women is all geared toward himself.’’Video: Aruba suspect’s camera had ‘disturbing’ pics (on this page)
Questioned by Lauer about those comments on Thursday, Stein replied: “I was confronted at that moment with information from the United States about his court cases, in which restraining orders had been taken out against him by women who have been bothered by him, and well, troubled by him.
“I can hold an opinion myself about a person,” Stein added. “I’m not dealing with the case myself, so my colleagues who will take the case to court will not be biased.’’Story: Boyfriend fears for safety of woman missing in Aruba
Aruban authorities plan a meticulous search for Gardner’s body, focusing on the desolate, uninhabited southern portion of the island, which is dotted with caves and old mine shafts. Their work thus far has been solid, according to attorney John Q. Kelly, who spoke with Lauer on Thursday.
Kelly is the lawyer for Beth Holloway Twitty, the mother of Natalee Ann Holloway, a student from Alabama who vanished on a trip to Aruba in May 2005 and was never found after an investigation that was criticized by some law experts. Multiple men were arrested in her disappearance, but no one was ever convicted.
“I think law enforcement down there immediately recognized the potential gravity of the situation, recognized the potential of foul play in the situation, and reacted swiftly and the way they should’ve,’’ Kelly said about the Gardner case. “I think they’ve reacted accordingly. They’ve reached out to the FBI, and they’re taking the appropriate steps in this circumstance.’’
Giordano went through customs and was ready to board a plane back to the United States before he was detained. Lauer asked Kelly how the suspect managed to get that far.
“I’d like to think it was by design,’’ Kelly said. “I think [Aruban authorities] wanted to see what he had with him when he was trying to leave there and what he tried to discard.’’
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