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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