UPDATE: The Alpine Police Department said that on Saturday morning they arrested Zuzu Verk's boyfriend, Robert Fabian, for "tampering with or fabricating physical evidence by concealing a human corpse. "
A U.S. Border Patrol agent found skeletal remains in a shallow grave not far from where Zuzu Verk, a 22-year-old North Texas woman, went missing nearly four months ago in the Sunny Glen area northwest of Alpine. Local news reports Verk is the only missing person case in the area.
Law enforcement had scoured the countryside on horseback and ATVs and deployed drones in their search for Verk who'd been attending university at Sul Ross State. The solitary Border Patrol agent stumbled across the remains on Friday morning. Animals had dug up the body, scattering it across the area but enabling the agent to detect it.
Verk was last seen with her boyfriend Robert Fabian, whose refusal to cooperate with investigators led Alpine Police Chief Russell Scown to tell reporters: “When you talk about all the hundreds of people from all over the state that are working actively to help solve this and bring Zuzu back to her family, and one individual that won’t, that ought to tell you something.”
The Brewster County Sheriff’s Office, the Alpine Police Department, Texas Rangers and Homeland Security gathered her remains and processed what local news called, “crucial evidence found at the scene.” Law enforcement said it wasn't enough to lead to an immediate arrest.
The remains were sent to a forensic lab at the University of North Texas in Denton for identification.
Verk’s parents spoke with the Dallas Observer shortly after their daughter had gone missing to plead for her boyfriend to speak with investigators. “All we want is our daughter back,” they said. “It’s torture.” Verk’s brother said, “If you love Zuzu as much as you say you do, over and over, you will come down and help the police bring my sister home.”
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Verk had made plans to go to the movies with some friends the evening of Oct. 11, 2016. She failed told to show up for work or an exam the next day. The police spoke with her boyfriend early on in the investigation, and he claimed she left his home about 3 a.m. Oct. 12.
Fabian’s downstairs neighbor, John Franco, reported hearing the couple fighting, though the Verks claim Fabian denied it when they questioned him. Franco told a local news station that the last thing he heard coming from Fabian’s apartment was “shut the fuck up.”
Franco's girlfriend says she heard a loud thump shortly before 3 a.m., and Franco claims he saw Fabian getting into his car to leave without Verk, whose car would remain at Fabian's for another two days after her disappearance.