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Robyn Gardner's Mother: 'We Can Only Pray'

First Posted: 08/11/11 11:33 AM ET Updated: 10/11/11 06:12 AM ET

Robyn Gardner

The mother of Robyn Gardner, a Maryland woman who disappeared during a vacation in Aruba, says her family "can only pray" for the 35-year-old's safe return.

Andrea Colson, Gardner's mother, issued the statement one day after island authorities called off the search for the 35-year-old woman.

"We can only pray that she will soon be with us and bring back the joy into our lives. She means the world to us," Colson said in a release. "We are hoping for the very best outcome with the help of the international community."

Gardner went missing on Aug. 2 during a vacation with Gary Giordano, a 50-year-old whom she reportedly met on an online dating website.

Giordano told investigators that Gardner never returned to shore when the pair went snorkeling at Baby Beach on the island's southern tip.

Giordano was first treated as a witness. But Aruban authorities soon doubted some of his statements and took him into custody as he was boarding a flight back to the United States on Aug. 5, according to ABC News.

"In evaluating his statements later on, we decided there were some things that were not correct and that changed our position towards him to seeing him as a suspect," Taco Stein, a spokesperson for prosecutors in Aruba, told the network. "At that point in time, we decided that we wouldn't want him to leave the island."

Giordano's lawyer has insisted that his client is being wrongly held and that authorities have no evidence of a crime.

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Robyn Colson-Gardner is missing in Aruba

"Our client emphatically denies being involved in any malicious act concerning his friend and consequently does not consider himself a suspect," lawyer Michael Lopez told The Associated Press.

Before Giordano was a person of interest in Gardner's disappearance, he faced allegations of domestic abuse and threats from two Maryland women in civil and family-law cases, The Washington Post reports.

One former girlfriend claimed in court documents that Giordano covertly filmed himself having sex with her and posted images on the web. When she confronted him about the images, the Gaithersburg, Md., resident allegedly placed explicit photos of the woman in her neighbors' mailboxes, the paper notes.

A judge granted the woman a restraining order against Giordano.

According to The Post, Giordano's ex-wife claimed that he threw their son to the ground and smashed a computer, stating in court documents: "He can't control his anger."

Gardner knew Giordano before she went on the trip, but had told her boyfriend, Richard Forester, that he was a gay friend, Forester told The Huffington Post yesterday.

Gardner's mother did not comment on Giordano in her remarks.

"We are confident and very grateful to the Aruba authorities and volunteers who are working above and beyond all our expectations," she said in a statement circulated by The Natalee Holloway Resource Center. "I hope you understand that we are being quiet as to not jeopardize the investigation. Please continue to pray for Robyn. Thank you."

The Natalee Holloway Resource Center -- an organization launched in memory of an American high school student whose disappearance in Aruba in 2005 remains unsolved -- has also established a hotline for callers with information about Gardner's disappearance or whereabouts at (407) 237-2295.

Gardner was last seen at the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino in Oranjestad. She is described as 5 feet 5 inches tall, 120 pounds, with blond hair, brown eyes and tattoos on her left arm, right bicep and side of her torso.

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Filed by Ben Muessig  |