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Aruba disappearance suspect seeks payout

A Maryland man who was suspected in the presumed death of his traveling companion in Aruba is suing to collect on a travel insurance policy issued in the woman's name.

Gary Giordano says in a lawsuit that AMEX Assurance Company is required to pay him $3.5 million under the terms of a policy purchased before last summer's trip. He says in the lawsuit that his companion, Robyn Gardner, is presumed dead following her Aug. 2 disappearance and that the insurance company "has a duty to pay the full death benefit" to him.

Giordano, 51, was held for months in an Aruban jail on suspicion of being involved in Gardner's disappearance, and the insurance policy's existence caught the attention of investigators and prosecutors looking to build a case against him. But an Aruban judge ordered him released in November, saying prosecutors didn't have enough evidence to continue holding him.

Giordano, who has since returned home to Gaithersburg, Md., has denied wrongdoing and says Gardner was swept out to sea as the two snorkeled off the southern tip of Aruba. Her friends and family have expressed doubt about that explanation, saying they thought it was unlikely that she would have gone snorkeling. Giordano says in the lawsuit that Gardner was covered under a July 27 policy that afforded $3.5 million in benefits in the event of accidental death or dismemberment. He says he is the named beneficiary under the policy but that the insurance company has refused his demands to pay.