ALPINE, Texas -- The boyfriend of a woman who vanished in October 2016 has been arrested and charged with fabricating physical evidence by concealing a human corpse.
Alpine police said Zuzu Verk's boyfriend, Robert Fabian, was arrested about 9 a.m. Saturday.
Friday, police revealed that remains were were found scattered near a shallow grave near the west Texas town of Alpine in the neighboring Sunny Glen area.
Verk's father, Glenn, released the following statement on behalf of the family Sunday:
"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. Zuzu has been a bright light in our lives. It has been our greatest challenge to go forward these last months without her joyous laugh, fierce idealism and heart-melting smile, knowing we may all never have them again. We could not have maintained our strength without the comforting embrace of our family, friends and community. Lori, Miles and I are forever grateful for your calls, notes, hugs, homes and more. We will be forever changed, but not ruined. We appreciate your respect and time as we begin the healing process. As we carry on, we look forward to the day we witness justice delivered for Zuzu.
"We've had crews out here since yesterday afternoon. There are up to 62 people on site," said Alpine Police Chief Russell Scown.
Scown added the investigation was leading down a path toward arresting Fabian but that the discovery of the remains expedited the arrest.
For the first time on Saturday, authorities also stated that evidence at the scene led them to believe the remains were Verk. However, a positive identification has yet to be made.
Verk disappeared on Oct. 12 after she was last seen at Fabian's apartment near Sul Ross State University, where the 21-year-old student was studying biology.
A forensics lab in Dallas is expected to officially identify the remains by Monday or Tuesday using dental records.
The chief said other arrests were still possible.
Detectives served a search warrant at Fabian's family home late Saturday. They removed shovels, soil and other items from the property that belongs to Fabian's sister and brother-in-law.
The sister, Jocelin Carillo, said their family is innocent, including Robert.
“They can take whatever the want as long as they don’t say we are hiding evidence. Like I said, my brother is innocent and we are innocent,” said Carillo.
Chris Estrada, an initial person of interest in the case, is now considered a "suspect," but Scown said he had recently relocated. Estrada was arrested for DWI last month in an unrelated incident.
Read previous report: Human remains found near Alpine as search for Zuzu Verk continues