Thursday, December 8, 2011

Aruba


Like many of you, I have been following the disappearance of thirty-five year old Maryland resident Robyn Gardener. She was last seen on August 2nd of this year while vacationing in Aruba with Gary Giordano, a fifty year-old divorced father of three she met on adultfriendfinder.com. Gary insists that the two were enjoying an afternoon of snorkeling when he signaled to Robyn that he was going to swim to shore and indicated that she should follow him. When he got inland, he realized that she was nowhere to be found and subsequently reported the strange incident to authorities.
Robyn Gardener
Aruban police did not accept Gary’s explanation and held him for several months while they investigated Robyn’s disappearance, even flying in cadaver dogs from the Netherlands to search the island. Despite circumstantial evidence (such as the $1.5 million travel policy he took out on her and the fact that she apparently was not fond of going underwater) detectives found no physical evidence that a crime was committed and Gary was released. I can only assume Nancy Grace was immediately paged….
Gary Giordano
Now back in the United States, Gary has retained the services of attorney Jose Baez who recently made a name for himself defending Casey Anthony. When pressed on his involvement, Gary even went so far as to suggest his companion was plucked from the water by human traffickers. One of Mr. Giordano’s most outspoken critics is Richard Forester, a man who lives with and claims to be in a serious, monogamous relationship with Robyn. Strangely, Forester had no idea she was in Aruba with another man since she had told him that she was going to “visit family.” Nonetheless, he has vowed to uncover the truth at all costs.

While I am not familiar enough with Aruba’s crime statistics to comment on the veracity of the “fishing for white women” theory, I do find it unusual that he insisted on a travel policy large enough to cover an Arby’s franchise. Gary’s attorney was quick to remind the press that the “accidental death” coverage was one component of a larger package and that Gary made it a habit to take these policies out when traveling with “companions.”

While I myself have been offered travel insurance when purchasing plane tickets, I never really paid attention to the coverage levels. So, I logged onto a travelguard.com to check out my options and researched how a policy would work for two Maryland residents traveling to Aruba over Christmas. While there is a separate component for “accidental death or dismemberment,” it must be specifically selected by the purchaser. It was unclear whether the option covered “intentional dismemberment” as well. I will keep you posted.

On a side note, the site also offered $500,000 of coverage for “accidents that occur while flying” which was separate from the “death or dismemberment” rider. What kind of traumatic in-flight mishap requires a six-figure payout but excludes death or injury? Loss of armrest use? High-altitude bowel evacuation? I half expected to see a policy enhancement that covered “Aruban prosecution.”

Many have pointed to Gary’s lack of emotion as proof of his guilt, but I would not exactly expect incapacitating sobs over a women he met on a website that allows to you categorize “sex partners” by geographical location. Besides, the earlier comments that he always took out insurance on his travel buddies leads one to assume that this was not the first adult friend Gary had found.  

I do feel sorry for Richard Forester because apparently there was a slight discrepancy between he and Robyn concerning the nature of their arrangement. He indicated to the media that they had been discussing marriage while she was allegedly trolling swinger websites for wealthy divorced men. While I am no marital councilor, I imagine that “random internet lovers” is one place where both parties should be on the same page before they tie the knot.

Regardless of what happened to Robyn, the real victim here is the Aruba Tourism Bureau. If one more American female goes missing on vacation there they are going to be dealing with some uncomfortable slogans. I would also suggest that local law enforcement go ahead and invest in cadaver dogs. Given the island’s propensity for making blonde women disappear, I think that it would be prudent investment.   

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