about his past as we go inside the search for robyn gardner. plus, break up, cash in. relationships go bad, but diamonds don't. and now there are auction websites devoted specifically to selling jewelry after a break-up. one ring went for $25,000. we look at heartbreak bling. and candidate obama. the president dusts off the bus and heads to iowa, saying he's got a plan to bring back the jobs. really. abc's jake tapper catches up with him. >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden, and bill weir in new york city, this is "nightline." august 15th, 2011. good evening. i'm cynthia mcfadden. we begin tonight with what increasingly appears to be a murder investigation.
it's playing out on the caribbean island of aruba. tomorrow, it will be two weeks since robyn gardner, a 25-year-old woman, disappeared after traveling to the island with a man she met online. he's now under arrest and his troublesome past is coming to light. here's abc's matt gutman. >> reporter: arubans again find their tiny sun swept island the setting another possible murder mystery. with gary giordano, at first blush a bereaved boyfriend who claimed his travel companion had gone missing while snorkeling, now led out of a police station in disgrace. the only suspect in the disappearance of 35-year-old robyn gardner. this evening prosecutors ordered giordano held for another 16 days, here in aruba's kia prison. that's nearly twice as long as they'd originally pushed for. >> it was a good day, yes, but it's not yet the moment to declare a victory, of course. >> reporter: investigators suspect foul play in robyn's
disappearance. friends say the 35-year-old frfr maryland just wanted to get away after having recently lost her job. >> when she came to me and said, hey, i'm going to aruba, i was like cool, i'm so happy, get out of town, why wouldn't you. and then she said she was going with gary, and it just became a -- you know, a why. like why? you know, are you sure? >> reporter: christina jones said she was wary of who her friend was leaving with. >> well, i know that she met gary over a year ago online. it's been a real roller coaster friendship. it's pretty hot and cold. one day nice and the next day not so nice. >> reporter: authorities now know she landed here with giordano on july 31st, planned to stay a week, and that she was last seen on or near this rocky beach on august 2nd. and that there was a critical time gap between the time when giordano claimed he last saw her and when he reported her missing. prosecutors tell "nightline"
their decision to detain giordano is based on his record, especially these documents -- restraining orders against him filed by two maryland women and obtained by abc news. in one of them a petitioner says, "he started to choke me with both hands, then shoved his fingers down my throat." and there were other women who found his behavior alarmingly aggressive, including his ex-wife, who said tonight, "it was a very short marriage that ended 4 years ago. there were marital issues, hence the divorce. local police were involved in one incident." and thenenhere's carrie emerson. she tells abc news he called her after seeing her teenage daughter's photos on a website. >> he said he was a producer and he had an opening for one girl to go to aruba to shoot with him. he said it's not going to be another natalee holloway or anything. >> reporter: holloway is the alabama teen who also went missing on this island in 2005, never to be found again. now, carrie emerson had never met giordano.
>> he started telling me that if i went and i slept with him he would make sure i was taken care of well financially. he said that if you let your daughter sleep with me too i'll take care of both of y'all for the rest of your lives financially. i told him that i was not interested. and he cursed me and i hung up on him. >> reporter: she says she reported the incident to the fbi, which has been assisting the arubans, even raiding giordano's maryland home, confiscating everything from laptops to cell phones. there's no proof and there's no motive. i don't see any motive. >> reporter: while the portrait of this man has come into focus, robyn gardner's last few days and hours remain a mystery. abc news has learned this is where robyn gardner was last seen, a dive shop and restaurant. its owner wouldn't go on camera but described exclusively to abc news what happened. he says robyn and giordano ate but didn't drink here for about an hour the afternoon she
vanished. they went into the dive shop but didn't rent any gear. so the dive shop owner told us that he saw them out here on this dirt road that's in a remote part of the beach. now, he was surprised to see anybody snorkeling out here because it's s s rarely frequented by anybody in a mask and fins. giordano claims they came down to this beach to snorkel. we were told it was an unusually calm day, water flat. but beyond, crashing waves and treacherous currents. and it's here that the trail goes cold. aruban authorities were criticized for being caught flat-footed by the natalee holloway disappearance in 2005. so they've been tight-lipped about this case. judge, could we just ask you one question, judge? for one question. just for one second. but prosecutors here are still miles away from a conviction. they may have their man in custody but they have no body, no murder weapon and still no answer to the question of what happened to robyn gardner.
for "nightline," matat gutman, oranjestaad, aruba. >> it is a case we will continue to follow closely. just ahead, how a bad break-up could have a silver lining. or a golden one. we look at auction sites devoted to break-up bling. [ man ] behind every business is a "what if." what if we designed an electric motorcycle? what if we turned trash into surfboards? whatever your what if is, the new sprint biz 360 has custom solutions to make it happen, including mobile payment processing, instant hot spots, and 4g devices like the motorola photon. so let's all keep asking the big what ifs. sprint business specialists can help you find the answers. sprint. america's favorite 4g network. trouble hearing on the phone? visit sprintrelay.com.
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recently tested stain treatments. they rated resolve laundry number one. beating shout. try resolve laundry for amazing stain removal. satisfaction guaranteed, or your money back. well, diamonds are forever, even when the relationship isn't. aftetea painful break-up, the sentimental value of jewelry that was given as a gift may be ruined, but that does not mean the jewelry still isn't valuable to somebody. that's where the auction
websites we're about to introduce you to come in. they take heartbreak and turn it into consolation cash. here's abc's andrea canning. >> reporter: for some women, it's the best gift they'll ever receive. >> ashley, will you marry me? >> yes. >> reporter: the moment of truth on "the bachelorette." and the moment of squealing joy in the summer blockbuster "bridesmaids." >> i'm engaged! >> oh, my god! >> reporter: the beginning of a journey that will last the rest of their lives. or at least one hopes so. >> this is my engagement ring and my wedding ring. >> reporter: how do you feel when you look at that? >> you know, sad. >> reporter: for this woman, her wedding ring brings back bitterswswt memories. >> it's a symbol i took seriously. i told him i was ready to start a family. he had wanted kids. yet at that moment, he said, you know, i don't have any interest in that.
>> reporter: so they divorced soon after. and then -- got engaged again? >> yeah,h,t turned out it wasn't so much of a real engagement. >> reporter: she was left at the altar with little explanation. >> he canceled the morning of. so it was very, very, very painful experience. >> reporter: but she's not alone with her broken heart. and now a new cathartic and lucrative trend is emerging. break-up jewelry auctions. in the first "sex and the city" movie, the ladies head to ogle jewels at a break-up auction. forget about the old pawnshop. everyday women are selling those rings online to the highest bidder. websites like idonowidon't.com are popping up. at ex-boyfriend jewelry.com, users can sell, trade or give away their memories for $1.99 per listing. but there is one condition. sellers must accompany the sale with a story.
one scorned seller, for example, wrote, gorgeous engagement ring i got in the divorce. apparently my ex-husband would rather be with his secretary than his loving wife. >> it's a really nice sense of closure. when you're ready to post something on the site. we get a few of the people where it's still raw. >> reporter: megan started the site with her stepmother marie when she was looking to unload some of her own ex jewelry. >> i had a wedding set. i'd been married very young. woops. and to go to a pawnshop, that seemed really --icy. >> reporter: within day, the site had so much traffic it crashed. since then, one engagement ring has sold for $25,000. with gold selling at record highs, there's never been a better time to unload that old hardware. do you get a lot of angry women? >> we notice after big holidays like in january there's a lot of, he gave me this thing for christmas and next thing, you know, i find out he's having this affair.
>> always be aware of heart-shaped jewelry. one e our mottos now is 1 in every 10 relationships ends in heart-shaped jewelry. >> reporter: how off season jewelry fought after? >> in divorce, they find things to fight over. when you add to that items that are of extreme value, it's a perfect storm. jewelry represents money. i have never had a female client say, i love this piece, i got to have it, i want to keep it. it's completely changeable to cash. where as the pet is not, grandma's portrait is not. >> reporter: it works for celebrities. jennifer lopez's 6 carat diamond ring was reacquired and auctioned off. remember ellen barkin's very public purging of her divorce jewels? she raked in millions at a christie's auction. >> will you marry me? >> yes, yes. >> reporter: "bachelor" star jake pavelka and vienna endured
a public engagement with this beautiful ring. then an even more publicized break-up. >> please stop interrupting me! >> reporter: the ring went back to the production company and the exes are now opening up on abc's "bachelor pad." >> we booth looked like fools, you know, in front of america. >> i accepted jake's apology. people need to really start focusing on the present. >> reporter: today, meimei fox is doing just that. are you going to getet married again? >> i think so, yeah, i believe so. >> reporter: no proposal yet though? >> nope, nope, it's been discussed. but i'll leave it at that. i believe that i'm with the love of my life truly. >> reporter: so, along with her rings that she's selling on exboyfriendjewelry.com for a total of nearly $7,700 -- >> prepared to last as long as the memory will. >> reporter: it's also out with her old wedding dress which is now going for nearly $1,000. how do you think you're going to feel when this sells?
>> you know, i really feel like it's a cathartic process. unloading some of the emotions. >> reporter: she plans to donate some of the money to charity. hoping some of her bad memories will turn into good karma for someone else. for "nightline," i'm andrea canning in los angeles. >> fascinating. one question remains, if you break up, should you give the expensive stuff back? let us know what you think. just ahead, the president is in iowa. home base these days for a gaggle of republican politicians who would very much like his job. vegas! now?! [ female announcer ] two hours to vegas. two hours to whiten. ♪ crest whitestrips two hour express. in just two hours you can have a noticeably whiter smile that lasts for months. ♪ hi. hi. where you guys headed? i think we're here. [ female announcer ] whitening without the wait. 3d white two hour express whitestrips...from crest. life opens up when you do.
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the president today kicked off a three-day bus tour through minnesota, iowa and illinois, hoping to recapture the magic that sent him to the white house. won't be easy. polls put his approval rating at an all-time low of 39%. the white house insisted he was not campaigning but, rather, was just, quote, doing what presidents do. here's abc's senior whi house correspondent jake tapper for our series "the contenders." >> reporter: in front of this gorgeous tableau of americana this evening, a barn, a flag, a stretch of rusted iowa, president obama outlined a major campaign strategy. after congress returns after labor day. >> i'll be puttingng forward wh they come back in september a very specific plan to boost the economy, to create jobs and to
control our deficit. and my attitude is get it done. and if they don't get it done, then we'll be running against a congress that's not doing anything for the american people and the choice will be very stark and will be very clear. >> reporter: he's no longer the fresh-faced junior senator who electrified iowa democrats more than three years ago. >> our time for change has come! >> reporter: but that doesn't stop him from trying to recapture the magic. with that, campaign 2012 unofficially begins. heading into this first stage of the election, president obama faces a moment of crisis. coming off the bruising debt ceiling debatete the s&p downgrade and a roller coaster week for the stock market, the effects are showing. the president woke up today to the worst poll numbers of his administration. today, he tried to place the blame on the toxic environment in washington. the buck stops over there. >> there is nothing wrong with america that can't be fixed.
ways broken is our politics. >> reporter: even though we're in iowa, just a couple days after the republican iowa straw poll, white house officials insist this is not a campaign trip. this is official presidential business. >> the midwest has always been a good place for democratic candidates, certainly it has been for the president in the last election. and, you know, just happens to be that there were republicans in iowa this weekend. i'm sure that had nothing to do with his decision to go to iowa. >> reporter: republicans have been getting the lion's share of attention lately. especially here in the midwest. over the weekend, the ames straw poll rejiggered the race, with congresswoman michele bachmann claiming victory. continuing her meteoricc rise t the top of the pack. and governor pawlenty dropping out of the race. >> coming to the state fair is pretty standard fare -- >> reporter: today, halfway across the state, the newest entry into the fray, texas
governor rick perry, made an appearance at the state fair. a candidate for barely three day, the governor did not waste any time. >> go ask your veterans if they'd rather see somebody who's never served as the commander in chief. >> he engaged on mitt romney. he engaged on the president. so, seems as if he's coming out, late, but he's coming out strong. >> reporter: one thing all the republicans have in common, they're attacking the president on jobs. >> mr. president, you need to free up the employers of this country to create jobs. >> what we need, again, is a president who understands the economy. what we have to do. we have to lower the taxes on the job creators. why? so you can have more jobs. >> let me tell you what barack obama's doing. barack obama's killing this economy. barack obama is why 25 million people don't have jobs. >> -- only 17% of voters think
the economy is getting better, there's going to be a lot more attention on who the president of the united states is going to be. we've had almost eight straight years of people believing that -- more people believing the country's on a wrong track than they think it's on the right track. so this is an electorate that is hungry for some change, positive change, positive news. >> reporter: unless that happen, the president has got to change the focus from what he has not been able to do to what congress refuses to do. for "nightline," i'm jake tapper, in decorah, iowa. that is our report for tonight. thank you for watching abc news. we hope you'll watch "good morning america" in the morning. have a great evening, america. up next on an all new jimmy kimmel looiv. >> the president's expected to get an earful from voters. that's an ear -- that's like ten regular earfuls. >> betty white. >> next week, i'm t