Zuzu Verk, a 22-year-old student at Sul Ross University, vanished October 11 after going to the movies with friends and her boyfriend, Robert Fabian.
According to CBS 7, Verk never showed up for her midterm exam the next day and missed her shift at work. Three days later, Zuzu’s mother hadn’t heard from her, and called Fabian, who said he hadn’t heard from her either.
Police initially called Fabian a “person of interest,” but have since upgraded his status as an official suspect in the case. Friends have said that he acted suspicious following Verk’s disappearance. Police said several members of Fabian’s family are also considered persons of interest.
The couple had an on-again, off-again relationship.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Fabian’s Neighbor Heard a ‘Loud Thump’ the Morning Verk Disappeared
Zuzu went missing in the early morning hours of October 11, and her boyfriend’s neighbor said he heard a “loud thump” coming from the suspect’s apartment during that same time frame.
“That night, we heard arguing,” said Franco. “I can hear him pacing back and forth, in the kitchen, living room, all around, all around,” Fabian’s neighbor, John Franco, told KHOU. “Going down the stairs, we heard a loud thump. This is around 4 in the morning. I only wish we had done something.”
Franco lives directly below Fabian’s apartment.
2. Fabian Acted Strangely After Verk’s Disappearance & Didn’t Help With Search Efforts to Find Her
A former friend of Fabian, Josh Cabos, said in an interview with WFAA that Fabian was acting strangely and he grew suspicious of his behavior.
“Something was definitely different that week,” Cabos said. “Something in my gut says I think he knows something.”
Raising even more suspicion, Fabian reportedly never helped with any searches for Verk. “We’ve invited him into our home. We’ve invited him into our hearts. At this point, we were hoping he’d be along side us in this search for her,” Lori Verk told WFAA.
3. Fabian Borrowed a Pickup Truck the Day Verk Disappeared & Police Say He May Have Deleted Social Media Activity
A warrant obtained by WFAA indicated that Fabian borrowed a pickup truck, a Ford F-150, during the early morning hours that Verk disappeared.
In other search warrants obtained by the station, authorities said Fabian called a friend, Chris Estrada, twice the same morning of the disappearance. The affidavit also indicated the two communicated using Snapchat at about the same time.
Police seized Estrada’s 2016 white Ford Mustang and announced that evidence was taken from the carpet of the vehicle.
Authorities said Estrada is a person of interest in the case, but also added that he has been cooperative.
Cobos revealed to police that Fabian had left his laptop at Cabos’ home after Zuzu disappeared. He said the computer was turned over to police. WFAA reported that although a warrant obtained for Fabian’s laptop didn’t reveal what may have been recovered, it did state that the computer “contained items that Robert Fabian wanted to remove from social media.”
4. Verk Was ‘Vibrant & Full of Life’
“We’re all special but there’s something exceptional about this young woman. She’s vibrant and she’s full of excitement and life,” Vark’s father, Glenn Verk, told CBS Dallas-Fort Worth. “I’m just very proud of her and I want to see her again,” he told the station as he choked back tears.
Posts to social media show how loved Verk truly is. “Come on Zuzu Verk you got a lot of people over here that miss you like crazy,” Elisa Noelle Hinojos wrote. “Just come home please.”
“It sucks to see one of your friends on the news for this reason.. we love you Zuzu Verk,” Maddi Grimmett said. “You will be found!”
5. Verk’s Mother is Active on Social Media & Thanked the Community for Their Support
On October 24, Verk’s mother, Lori Letow Verk, posted to Facebook thanking the community for their support after receiving a care package. “Sustenance from our new community family,” she wrote. “Such incredibly thoughtful, caring people! All our love right back to y’all! Thank you.”
On October 23, the mother said a miracle was needed, and asked for prayers from readers. She wrote:
We need a miracle, folks. Everyone and anyone who’s following Zuzu Verk’s story; all the hundreds and hundreds of people who have been praying for my dear, sweet daughter. Pray hard now! Pray she stays strong and alive for us to find we are so close; she MUST stay alive! And pray for that one extra person we need to add to our team. That one person who knows where my daughter is. PLEASE????
A $100,000 reward is in place for information leading to Verk’s location or safe return.
*This story will be updated as information becomes available.