Fort Worth

Warrant: Zuzu Verk’s boyfriend was nervous after she vanished

Robert Fabian, left, has been named a suspect in the disappearance of Zuzu Verk.
Robert Fabian, left, has been named a suspect in the disappearance of Zuzu Verk. Courtesy of family (via WFAA/Channel 8)

The boyfriend of a missing college student from Keller has been named a suspect in her disappearance, Alpine police announced on their Facebook page Wednesday.

Before Wednesday, Robert Fabian had only been a person of interest in the case.

Zuzu Verk, 22, went missing Oct. 12 after going on a date with Fabian.

Reporters with WFAA obtained search warrants, which state that Fabian called his friend Chris Estrada twice during the early morning hours of Verk’s disappearance.

A separate warrant stated that Fabian borrowed a Ford F-150 pickup early Oct. 12. John Franco, who lives directly below Fabian in an apartment complex across from Sul Ross State University, told the station that he could hear arguing and pacing the night Verk disappeared, the WFAA story said.

Another search warrant, for Estrada’s Ford Mustang, says that in the days after Verk’s disappearance, Fabian was acting “very nervous” and that Estrada tried to get his car cleaned three times at a local auto shop, WFAA reported.

Authorities also continued drone and aerial searches Wednesday, focusing around town and south in Presido County. Sheriff Ronny Dodson said nothing came of the search there, WFAA reported.

Authorities have said Fabian hasn’t cooperated, but his lawyer, Liz Rogers, released a statement to KMID-TV in Midland:

“He is distraught over the disappearance of Zuzu as is everyone in our community … he has cooperated with the Texas Rangers and local law enforcement, we are in the process of conducting our own investigation and we fervently pray that Zuzu will be found alive and well.”

Fabian’s family members are considered persons of interest in the case, along with one of Fabian’s friends.

Fabian’s mother and sister have met with authorities, Alpine Police Chief Russell Scown told KOSA-TV in an interview on Facebook.

“We believe there are other persons of interest that are mainly [Fabian’s] family,” Scown told the TV station. “We do believe they have more information about Zuzu’s disappearance, but we don’t believe they are being fully cooperative with that information.”

Scown said he hopes Fabian and his lawyer will come to police headquarters and “start answering some questions and meet with us.”

Earlier Wednesday, authorities were focusing their search near the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a post on the Alpine Police Department Facebook page.

Verk, a student at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, graduated from Timber Creek High School in far north Fort Worth.

Police were searching throughout Brewster County with “a lot of concentration in Redford in Presidio County,” the Facebook post said. Redford is about two hours south of Alpine on the west end of Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Crews had covered about 435 miles by air, including use of a drone, and about 500 square miles total, Alpine police reported.

The vast, thinly-populated search area is roughly the size of Connecticut, Brewster County sheriff’s officials have said.

Authorities have also been interviewing potential witnesses, though Fabian, who is believed to be the last person to see her, has not cooperated with police, officials have said.

“We believe Robert has the answers we need,” Miles Verk, the woman’s brother, told WFAA-TV on Tuesday.

Fabian’s neighbors told the television station they heard the couple fighting the night Verk disappeared.

Verk’s immediate family has been in the Alpine area since she went missing, assisting authorities with the search.

“We’ll be here as long as it takes,” Verk’s mother, Lori Verk, told WFAA.