ALPINE, TEXAS - Covering an area roughly “the size of the state of Connecticut,” Brewster County deputies and other agencies continued their search on Tuesday for missing 22-year-old Zuzu Verk.
The Sul Ross State University student from Keller vanished two weeks ago.
Her family says she disappeared after a night out with her boyfriend. Alpine police confirm he was the last known person to see the young woman.
Deputies used three drones in their Tuesday effort, focusing partly on areas closer to town where someone may have missed something in earlier search efforts.
“That is our biggest fear: That we walked around it or haven’t seen it. It weighs hard on you,” said Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson.
He said crews have now covered numerous counties encompassing more than 400 square miles without any sign of Verk.
Police Chief Russell Scown said Verk’s boyfriend, Robert Fabian, continues to remain a key person of interest in the case but isn’t cooperating with the investigators.
“If he does love her, as he has said, then he should be out here right beside us,” Scown said. “That is very telling.”
Investigators again interviewed a key potential witness on Tuesday, Chris Estrada, one of Fabian’s friends.
He is the owner of a white Ford Mustang that investigators seized and collected evidence from last week. Police said he is cooperating with the investigation, but Sheriff Dodson said a polygraph test taken by Estrada on Tuesday was "inconclusive."
During a sit-down interview with News 8, Zuzu’s parents and brother appeared resilient.
They described a goofy, loving young woman who had finally found her niche studying the outdoors in the Davis Mountains.
“She’s always happy. One of those people that walks into a room and brightens it up,” said her older brother, Miles.
The family said they, too, are confused and frustrated that Fabian won’t cooperate.
“He should be here with us, supporting us and looking for her, and helping in any way,” Lori Verk said.
The family met with his attorney, Liz Rogers, over the weekend, but learned “nothing,” according to Zuzu’s dad.
“It was not productive,” he said.
Rogers declined to comment.
A neighbor of Fabian's at his apartment complex said he had been asked not to discuss what he knew in detail. He did say he heard the couple arguing the night Zuzu disappeared.
The Verks remain hopeful a $100,000 reward compels someone who knows something about her disappearance to come forward.
Until then, they plan to make Alpine their home.
“We will be here as long as it takes,” Lori said.
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