Gary Giordano's attorney pleads for his client's release in the case of the missing Maryland woman

By Siobhan Morrissey and Tim Nudd
Updated August 15, 2011 08:10 AM
Elton Malone/AP; Natalee Holloway Resource Center/AP

An attorney for Gary V. Giordano pleaded for his client’s release on Sunday, nearly two weeks after his travel companion, Robyn Gardner, went missing in Aruba.

Giordano, 50, claims Gardner, 35, never returned from a snorkeling trip they took together on Aug. 2. But authorities on the Caribbean island doubt his story and are treating Gardner’s disappearance as a mysterious death.

They must decide Monday whether to detain Giordano for at least eight more days. But his lawyer, Michael Lopez, says that’s not necessary.

“Today, nine days later, [after] four voluntary interviews, two site visits, and more than 30 statements coming from different sources, including witnesses and professionals, we cannot deduce that there is hard proof to sustain a demand by the public prosecutor against our client,” Lopez said in a statement. “No felony has been committed by him.”

Giordano has offered “all possible cooperation to the investigation,” Lopez added, and could always be extradited back to Aruba if more compelling evidence presents itself in future.

Meanwhile, Aruba solicitor general Taco Stein told PEOPLE that it doesn’t make sense that Gardner would have drowned in the area where Giordano says they were snorkeling – and that if she did, she likely would have been found by now.

“People have drowned at Baby Beach before,” Stein says. “But in the last two years, bodies were found almost right away near Baby Beach.”

The sea was hardly rough that night, either. “We checked the tide,” Stein says. “When police came to investigate at 7 that evening, the sea was calm and no wind.”