“I don’t think anybody here will ever forget her, as long as they live. It’ll be generations.”
Sheriff Ronny Dodson has been through the journey of getting justice for Zuzu since the beginning.
“We’re all glad it’s over,” said Dodson. “There was a lot of time that we spent looking for her in the beginning, putting the case together, now waiting for the trial… You know, the trial was supposed to happen several months ago. We finally got it done.”
Dodson says some days were harder to bear with months of setbacks and obstacles. Especially, when Zuzu was still not found.
“We didn’t find her. It was those months that went by, and she was hidden right in plain sight. That’s one of the biggest frustration now. When you look back at the things you could’ve done and the places you could’ve looked. It’s frustrating for all of us.”
But through the toughest days, Dodson says the Alpine community only grew stronger. The Verk family became a part of the community and spent much of their time in Alpine meeting residents and getting to know the area their daughter went to school in. Dodson says he was surprised at the number of people from Brewster County who went to Caldwell County for Robert Fabian’s trial. He says many spent their own money and stayed at motels to be there in support.
It has been nearly three years since Zuzu’s disappearance until Robert Fabian’s trial. Through those years, Zuzu’s Sul Ross State University family say they wept as one.
“She had a kind of larger than life personality,” said President of Sul Ross State University, Bill Kibler. “Very enthusiasitc and engaged in everything that she did. So that amplified that when it was discovered, unfortunately, that she went missing and worst was feared.”
The school has dedicated an amphitheater in her name. Kibler says he looks forward to hearing students and faculty saying, “Hey, lets meet at Zuzu’s place.”
“Because Sul Ross is so small, not like one of these bigger schools, everytime we lose one of our own, it affects all of us,” said student K Likiaksa. Junior, Anthony Carrasco, added her story has not only affected her family, friends, and peers, but also strangers all across the state.
For Assistant Professor in Communication and Theatre, Marjie Scott, she says Zuzu’s brother, Miles Verk, was once her student. She says it was evident he was very close with his sister.
“At least for me and a lot of my colleagues, and for a lot of students, it was just devastating,” explained Scott.
While justice may have been served, the community says there will always be a void left unfilled.
“It doesn’t bring her back, it doesn’t change what happened. And I think that’s the saddest part about this whole thing.”