Zuzu Verk case: Boyfriend indicted in murder of Texas student

Robert Fabian and Zuzu Verk

KOSA

ALPINE, Texas --  A grand jury has indicted Robert Fabian with murder in connection with the death of Zuzu Verk, reports CBS affiliate KOSA.

Zuzu Verk, a 21-year-old Sul Ross State University student from the Fort Worth, Texas suburb of Keller, went missing Oct. 12 after a date with Fabian. Her body was found near Sunny Glen Canyon last month by a U.S. Border Patrol officer who was in the area checking on an unrelated lead regarding undocumented immigrants, reports KOSA.

Fabian, Verk’s boyfriend, was initially arrested on a warrant for tampering with or fabricating physical evidence by concealing a human corpse. He has been a suspect in the case since late October and has been in the Brewster County Jail since his arrest on Saturday, Feb. 4.

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Zuzu Verk

CBS DFW

His bond now totals $925,000, according to the station.

According to the search warrant affidavits released last month by the Alpine Police Department, Fabian told investigators that he had invited Verk to his Alpine apartment the night of Oct. 11 for a romantic dinner and a back rub. He said they had a heated argument over comments he made about an ex-girlfriend, and that he escorted Verk to the front door between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. Oct. 12.

However, when later confronted with a neighbor’s statement that Fabian had left his apartment early the morning of Oct. 12, Fabian said he left Verk at his apartment about 3 a.m. to drive to a Dairy Queen to ponder the future of their relationship. He said he returned to his apartment, escorted her out and watched her leave.

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Robert Fabian

CBS DFW

Meanwhile, neighbors who live in an apartment below Fabian’s reported hearing the argument between him and Verk.

They noted that Fabian played a movie very loudly on his television between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. Oct. 12. The neighbor woke up again later and told investigators he heard Fabian walking around his apartment with the shower running, KOSA reports.

Around 4 a.m., the neighbor said he was awoken by his girlfriend, who said she heard a loud noise and thought their apartment was being broken in to. When he went to investigate, he said he saw Fabian leave alone in his Jeep and was still gone as of 10:30 a.m., while Verk’s car remained parked outside the apartment.

The neighbor told police he saw a mattress cover belonging to Fabian in the dryer and clothing of Fabian’s in the washing machine, KOSA reports.

Fabian’s friend, Chris Estrada, who was also charged with second-degree felony evidence tampering by concealment of a corpse, told investigators that he drove Fabian to an Alpine variety store the evening of Oct. 12 and let Fabian use his credit card to buy plastic drop cloths. Electronic data from his remote computer showed Estrada was at Fabian’s apartment from 10:40 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Last month, a Border Patrol agent found Verk’s remains in and around a shallow grave, along with plastic drop cloths, near Alpine, about 200 miles southeast of El Paso. A cause of death was pending Tuesday for Verk. That same day, investigators serving a search warrant confiscated digging tools and soil samples from the home of Fabian’s sister.