The search for Zuzu Verk is growing more desperate as police in Texas expand the search for the missing college student and have named boyfriend Robert Fabian a person of interest, who is reportedly not cooperating with investigators.
The woman was last seen on October 11, when she went on a date to the movies with an on-again, off-again boyfriend, NBC News reported. She was in contact with friends and family members until the next day, but then lost contact and has not been seen since then. In the two weeks that followed, there has been a massive search, but so far, there are no clues as to her whereabouts.
In the hours after her disappearance, family members drove across the state to Alpine, Texas, where the 22-year-old is a student at Sul Ross State University.
Zuzu’s father, Glenn, said Robert Fabian was already gone by the time he arrived.
“I drove all night as soon as I heard Zuzu was missing, and when I got there, a search was already in progress,” Glenn told Fox News. “Everyone wanted to help, but he [Verk’s boyfriend] wasn’t there.”
Robert Fabian — whose name has not been officially released by police but has been identified by members of the Zerk family and has spoken publicly about the case on social media — cooperated with police for an initial interview but afterward hired a lawyer and has not spoken since then, CBS 7 reported.
Attorney Liz Rogers told CBS 7 that she is representing Fabian and said he is “distraught” over Zuzu Verk’s disappearance. Police have said there is a person of interest in the case but have not named that person publicly.
As NBC News reported, the effort has drawn in hundreds of volunteers who collectively have canvassed more than 400 miles. The professional search firm Texas Equusearch has also joined the effort, the report noted.
“Investigators have reviewed hundreds of hours of surveillance video obtained from local businesses, and have sent a request to the public for anyone who has video systems outside their home to check them. Ranchers were also urged to look for any unusual items left on their land that may be connected to the case.”
Family members said they don’t know why anyone might want to hurt Zuzu, who was well liked on campus.
“She just shines. She loves life,” Glenn Verk told Fox News. “She has such a network of friends and people who care about her.”
The search for Zuzu Verk has gotten some national attention, including a recent feature on Dateline. The missing student’s family members said they have been clinging to the small hope that she might be found alive.
Surveillance vid offers new clues in search for Texas college student Zuzu Verk. Reward now $100,000. Parents plead for help & 'a miracle' pic.twitter.com/hoHRaxH8k0— Janet Shamlian (@JanetShamlian) October 24, 2016
“It’s like you go through the stages of both: having hope that she’s OK, and grieving the unknown at the same time. It just tears you up inside,” Glenn told Dateline (via NBC News).
Authorities have released a new bit of information in the search for Zuzu Verk. On Sunday, they announced that evidence was taken from the carpet of a white Mustang, reported to belong to a friend of Robert Fabian, and sent it to a forensic lab for testing. The owner of the Mustang has cooperated with investigators and was released after questioning.
Police have also tried to put some public pressure on Robert Fabian to talk, with Alpine Police Chief Russell Scown publicly calling him out at a press conference on Friday.
“The investigators are waiting to talk to you,” Scown said.
Authorities are also asking the public to help in the search for the missing college student, who stands five-foot-one and weighs 110 pounds with hazel eyes and hair that had recently been dyed blonde. Anyone with information on the disappearance of Zuzu Verk is asked to call the Alpine Police Department at (432) 837-3486. There is a $100,000 reward offered for information that leads to her safe return.
[Featured Image by Alpine Police Department]