Man charged with murder in Texas college student's death

Arrested: Robert Fabian (left) has been charged in connection with the death of Zuzu Verk (right), who disappeared on October 11, and whose skeleton was found in February
  • Zuzu Renee Verk, 22, was reported missing in October 2016 by her boyfriend, two days after he last saw her
  • Her body was found in February
  • Robert Fabian, 22, Verk's boyfriend, was named a suspect and has now been charged with her murder
  • Police said he had  been uncooperative in the investigation
  • Verk, whose cause of death has not been revealed is to be laid to rest Sunday

 A West Texas man has been indicted on a first-degree murder charge in the killing of a college student he was dating.

The remains of Zuzu Verk were found last month in a shallow grave in the wilderness near Alpine, about 200 miles southeast of El Paso. 

A Brewster County grand jury indicted 22-year-old Robert Fabian on Friday in the death of Verk, a student at Sul Ross State University in Alpine.

 'Odd': Fabian slept at his sister's place rather than his own apartment after the disappearance, which friends say was oddStudy: Verk had been studying in Fabian's town of Alpine, Texas
'Odd': Fabian slept at his sister's place rather than his own apartment after the disappearance, which friends say was odd. Verk had been studying in his town of Alpine, Texas

His bond is set at $750,000. He already was jailed on $175,000 bond on an evidence tampering charge. His attorney didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Verk, of Keller, went missing October 12. Her remains were found February 3 and identified through dental records.

Neighbors have said they heard Fabian and Verk argue at his Alpine apartment late evening on October 11.

Exactly how Verk died has not been revealed by investigators. She will be buried Sunday in Keller. 

 
 Verk's corpse was found in February in a shallow grave, wrapped in plastic. An affidavit says Fabian's story changed as police questioned him, and that he bought plastic sheets

Verk's corpse was found in February in a shallow grave, wrapped in plastic. An affidavit says Fabian's story changed as police questioned him, and that he bought plastic sheets

In February, Fabian told cops he planned a romantic dinner and back massages at his home for Verk on the night of October 11, but she left after an argument about an ex-girlfriend.

He says he never saw her again - but the affidavit claims that his story changed under questioning by police, and that he acted suspiciously in the days afterward.

Those suspicious acts including getting a friend, Chris Estrada, to help him buy plastic sheets like those found wrapped around Verk's skeletal remains.

Fabian, who reported Verk missing on October 14, initially told police that she left his apartment between 2am and 3am on the morning of October 12.

According to the affidavit, however, when police told him that a neighbor had seen Fabian leaving his apartment that morning, he amended his statement.

 

While Fabian had planned a romantic evening for Verk, but it descended into arguments. Police have charged his friend Chris Estrada (pictured) with helping him hide Verk's body

He told them he'd left Verk behind in the apartment while he went to a Dairy Queen to reconsider their relationship. He then returned before escorting her to the door.

Neighbors also told police that Fabian had played a movie loudly between 1am and 2am, and had then driven off alone at around 4am.

Verk's car remained parked outside his apartment until October 14, they said. 

Search warrants found that Fabian called his friend, Chris Estrada, twice during the early morning of October 12 and later borrowed a Ford F-150 pickup for an unknown reason. 

 Verk, a student at Sul Ross State University (pictured) in Alpine, was last heard from during the early morning hours of October 12

Verk, a student at Sul Ross State University (pictured) in Alpine, was last heard from during the early morning hours of October 12

Estrada told police that he drove Fabian to a store on the evening of October 12, and let the man use his card to buy three plastic drop cloths, like those used by artists to protect a floor from paint.

Those drop cloths are similar to the ones wrapped around Verk's remains when they were found, police said.

Estrada's computer details also show that he was at Fabian's apartment on October 12, from 10:40pm until midnight, the affadavit claims.

It also says that in the days afterward, Fabian stayed at his sister's place rather than his own apartment - something friends noted was odd.

And one friend told police that he had said: 'If I know a really big secret and two people know it, then the other has to be dead.'

The friend said Fabian had noticed a frightened look on his face, and then said he was joking.

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By Mathias Dillion 03/18/2017 03:45:00