Friends of a missing college student from the Keller area described her Monday night as an endless source of positivity, a bubbly friend who gave good advice and dreamed of traveling to Japan.
About 100 people gathered at Bear Creek Park in Keller to hold a candlelight vigil for Zuzu Verk, as authorities continued searching for her seven hours away in the Alpine area of West Texas.
Verk, 22, went missing Oct. 12 in Alpine, where she attended Sul Ross State University. She went on a date the night before and never showed up for work or class the next day.
A $100,000 reward is being offered for information leading to her.
On Monday, authorities began using a drone as the search expanded to neighboring counties, Alpine police said in a Facebook post. Investigators have received hundreds of hours of surveillance videos that “have provided key evidence in the investigation,” the police Facebook page says.
Alpine police have also seized a white Ford Mustang, which they believe is a “key piece of evidence.”
Verk’s boyfriend hired an attorney and has refused to talk with detectives, Alpine Police Chief Russel Scown said in a news conference Friday.
“Unfortunately we have one individual who we believe does have information who has refused to come and talk to us,” Scown said.
Instead, Scown’s officers and other authorities and volunteers have canvassed the surrounding area, conducting more than 100 interviews, ordering dozens of search warrants and collecting evidence, including computers, cellphones and vehicles.
But in Keller, near where Verk attended Timber Creek High School, her friends Monday knew only what has been released to the media.
“It’s frustrating, but we know it’s an ongoing investigation,” said Hannah Lewis, a friend of Verk’s who organized the vigil.
Several of Verk’s friends spoke to the crowd, and two sang an acoustic version of one of her favorite songs, Fix You by Coldplay.
Katie Boldin, who was a year older than Verk in school but friends with her since middle school, pleaded to have Verk returned.
“She never had an enemy. Ever,” Boldin said. “Hopefully whoever did this will at least have some type of heart, and just bring her back to us. We don’t need her to be gone.”
Lewis said Verk’s friends aren’t giving up.
“She’s just a beautiful ray of light, and this is why we’re doing this candlelight vigil, so wherever she is, we can send that light right on back to her,” Lewis said. “She’s touched all of our lives.”