12/01/2011 02:18 pm ET

Gary Giordano Interview: Sole Suspect In Robyn Gardner Case Tells His Story

The man considered by Aruban police to be the sole suspect in the case of missing American tourist Robyn Gardner says he is "absolutely not" responsible for her disappearance.

After being released from custody in Aruba, where authorities held him for four months on suspicion of involvement in his travel companion's Aug. 2 disappearance, Gary Giordano publicly presented his version of events for the first time on "Good Morning America."

On the show, Giordano, 50, attempted to dispel media reports that cast him in a negative light and denied he played a part in the 35-year-old Maryland woman's disappearance.

"I feel as if a person I cared about ... has disappeared on my watch," he said. "That will weigh heavily on me for a very long time."

Authorities in Aruba suspect that Gardner is dead and they've said they don't believe Giordano's version of events, but he maintains that she vanished while swimming.

"I'll interview myself, if you don't mind," Giordano told "Good Morning America's" Robin Roberts during a sit-down that appeared contentious at times. "There are hard questions, like 'he took her to remote location' on the island. But we were 100 yards from a scuba diving store with tanks in back. It was not a 'remote location.' We were in view of other people at Baby Beach."


Robyn Gardner, Maryland Woman, Missing in Aruba

The Maryland businessman, who won a major appeal on Wednesday keeping him out of pretrial detention in Aruba, also maintained that they "were a sober couple" when he last saw Gardner. He claimed he had never heard reports that the pair were intoxicated.

Giordano defended his behavior immediately following Gardner's disappearance, disputing contentions that he didn't appear hurried or concerned when captured on surveillance footage seeking assistance at a nearby business.

"There's nobody there -- I'm supposed to scream into the air?" he asked.

Giordano also blasted media coverage of his attempt to return to the United States prior to his arrest, explaining that he only tried to board his flight after asking for permission from Gardner's mother and United States embassy staff.

With his lawyer, Jose Baez, at his side, Giordano explained why he called his travel insurance provider two days after Gardner's disappearance to discuss a $1.5 million policy he took out in her name.

"My lawyer at the time, Michael Lopez, said you need to call insurance immediately. Helicopters and divers might send you an invoice. Call insurance and ask them how they deal with these expenses," said Giordano, who also claimed a Dutch travelers handbook urges visitors to alert insurance providers after tipping off authorities about a missing person.

Giordano declined to describe the day of Gardner's disappearance from beginning to end, claiming he wouldn't retell a story he had already told investigators 50 or 60 times.

But he did allude to a more sinister side of the country that held him without charges since August.

"Aruba has two main sources of income, and it's not tourism -- it's cocaine and human trafficking," he said.

Earlier this week, Aruba solicitor general Taco Stein insisted the case against Giordano is still developing, citing recent searchers by divers and underwater robots as well as pending forensic investigations and analysis of Giordano's Blackberry.

"We know he has been lying about what happened ... We know his story is not true," Stein said.