The recent disappearance of 35-year old Robyn Gardner while snorkeling in Aruba is a jarring reminder of the unsolved case of Natalee Holloway. The Alabama High School student also vanished in 2005 in Aruba, and her remains have never been found.
Gardiner and her companion, 50-year old Gary Giordano were in Aruba together, after meeting through an online dating website. They'd been seeing each other for several weeks. Giordano told the Aruba Herald that he bought the tickets for the trip and invited Gardiner to come with him. The couple was staying together at the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino in Oranjestad.
The Herald reports that a series of intense searches were conducted over a number of days by the surveillance department and the detective department of the Aruba Police, the Aruba Maritime Police, the Coast Guard, Search and Rescue Divers and volunteer divers of Jads and the use of two helicopters, an airplane and several boats, the woman has not been found in the sea or on the shore.
The New York Daily News reports that Giordano, told island police that she vanished while snorkeling in Nanki, in the island's southern region. Aruba authorities say they are now holding Giordano for questioning after he tried to leave the country soon after the woman's disappearance.
Richard Forester, who claims to be Gardiner's regular boyfriend tells WULA-7 News in Washington, D.C.,
"I can't even explain it... It's been six days."
He says he and Gardner had been dating for more than two years, but had a fight just before she left for the vacation to Aruba on July 31.
"The last message I got from her was, I love you, we'll talk and sort things out when I get back. I just don't think that she was snorkeling,. I just feel in my heart that something happened at this person's hand."
The disappearance of Robyn Gardiner comes more than six years after Alabama high school student Natalee Holloway vanished while on vacation in the same resort town in Aruba. Her case remains unsolved. Joran Van der Sloot has been the major suspect in the case, but no charges have ever been filed. He now sits in prison in Peru, suspected of murdering a young woman there, where he is awaiting trial.