Skeletal remains found in a shallow Texas grave have been identified as those of a missing 22-year-old college student, authorities said.
Investigators have been searching for Zuzu Verk, a biology student at Sul Ross State University, since she vanished October 11 after going to the movies with her boyfriend, Robert Fabian.
Police have considered him a person of interest in Verk’s disappearance, but he has refused to cooperate with detectives, authorities said.
She was reported missing the next day when she failed to show up for work and for a college exam.
He was arrested Saturday, less than 24 hours after a Border Patrol agent stumbled upon Verk’s remains in a rural, southwest expanse of the state, officials said.
“It’s a disgrace. And to think that in such a shallow grave, that the animals wouldn’t have eventually dug the body out — they weren’t thinking. I guess they aren’t as smart as they think they are,” Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson said of the perpetrators.
Fabian, 26, has been charged with tampering with evidence by concealing a human corpse, said Dodson, speaking to reporters Monday. conference.
He is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail and additional charges are expected to be filed, Dodson said. A friend of Fabian’s, Chris Estrada, has been charged with the same offense and is awaiting extradition from Arizona, the sheriff said.
“Why was she killed? And exactly how? Those are the big questions now,” Dodson said.
Forensic pathologists used dental records to identify the body, he said.
Neither Fabian nor Estrada has commented publicly since their arrests. They have not entered pleas.
Verk and Fabian went to the movies on the night she vanished, authorities said. Neighbors later heard the couple arguing in Fabian’s apartment that night, investigators said.
“As our family awaits the likely news that our worst fears have been realized, our sorrow has grown alongside a sense of relief from the constant state of not knowing,” Glenn Verk, the victim’s father, said Monday in a statement, The Associated Press reported.