Candlelight vigil for Zuzu Verk
A Fort Worth woman’s remains were found “together with” plastic drop cloths that police believe her boyfriend bought the day she disappeared in October, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Zuzu Verk’s remains were found last week in a shallow grave near Alpine, in far West Texas, where the 21-year-old was a student at Sul Ross State University. Her boyfriend, Robert Fabian, 26, was arrested on a charge of tampering with evidence, accused of concealing a corpse.
The arrest warrant affidavit says Verk went to Fabian’s apartment for a romantic dinner the night of Oct. 11. According to the affidavit, Fabian told police that the couple began to argue and that when the disagreement became “heated,” Verk left between 2 and 3 a.m. to go home.
Fabian initially told investigators that he was home the entire time Verk was there. But when asked why a neighbor saw him leave, Fabian told police that he drove to a restaurant about 3 a.m. “to think about his relationship with Zuzu,” the affidavit says.
When he returned, Verk was still at his apartment. He escorted her out and watched her leave, he told police.
But a neighbor told police that he saw Verk’s vehicle still parked at the apartments at about 4 a.m.
Fabian’s friend Chris Estrada also faces an evidence-tampering charge, which is a second-degree felony. Estrada was arrested Monday in Arizona, where he recently relocated.
The affidavit says Fabian called Estrada twice at about 3:15 a.m. the night of Verk’s disappearance and stayed in contact with him throughout the day.
Estrada told police that he went to Fabian’s apartment later that day to paint a table. They decided to drink instead, the affidavit says.
At about 10:15 p.m., the two stopped by a Dollar General store, where Fabian bought three drop cloths, according to surveillance footage.
From about 10:40 p.m. to midnight, according to electronic data, Estrada was back at Fabian’s apartment. From about midnight to 12:20 a.m., Estrada was “at or near various commercial dumpsters in the area,” the affidavit says.
Later, Estrada went to a friend’s house.
‘Don’t ask questions’
The friend opened her door and “observed Chris acting strange” and looking “very bothered to the extent that it scared her,” the affidavit says.
When she asked Estrada what was wrong, he told her, “I don’t want to get you involved. Don’t ask questions.”
She asked him if anything was “newsworthy,” the affidavit says.
Estrada shrugged and said, “If it is newsworthy, I didn’t do anything. I’m OK.”
When Verk’s disappearance became public Oct. 14, Fabian told a friend, “If I know a really big secret and two people know it, then the other has to be dead,” according to the affidavit.
Fabian then told his friend that he was joking.
Fabian later asked his friend if he could use his computer to delete certain Facebook posts that “did not look good as he was a suspect” in Verk’s disappearance, the affidavit says.
Police searched Fabian’s apartment and found no sheets or pillowcases on his bed. Investigators found one of the three drop cloths, but the other two were missing, the affidavit says.
Fabian remained in custody in Alpine on Tuesday with his bail set at $500,000.
“We anticipate additional charges soon” for Fabian, Alpine Police Chief Russell Scown said Monday.
Several of Fabian’s relatives are also considered persons of interest, Scown said, adding that more arrests “will eventually” be made.