Search warrants piece together Zuzu Verk investigation

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ALPINE -- “I really feel like he did it.”

Robert Fabian’s next-door neighbor says he heard an argument coming from Fabian’s upstairs apartment the last night Zuzu Verk was seen.

“It’s sad to say that he's causing pain to this town, to this community especially to [her] family. I know being a father of three little girls it would break my heart and so I totally understand what they're going through and I really wish he would come out and admit what he did,” John Franco told CBS 7 News.

Search warrants obtained by CBS 7 reveal details which led police to the seizure of vehicles owned by friends and family of now-suspect Robert Fabian, the missing woman’s boyfriend.

Those warrants reveal Robert Fabian first reported his girlfriend missing on Friday, October 14th at 1:00 p.m. However, he told police that his girlfriend had been missing since the early morning hours Wednesday.
Fabian told police he had last seen and spoken to Verk at his home at around three or four in the morning Wednesday, October 12th.

They also reveal two phone calls and Snapchats which may prove key to the investigation. Police say Robert Fabian made two phone calls to his friend Chris Estrada at around 3:15 am on October 12th. He later contacted Estrada on Snapchat.

Estrada recently took part in a polygraph test by police but was not cleared as a person of interest, according to Chief of Police Russell Scown.

Enter the 2016 White Ford Mustang taken into custody and searched by police – warrants say it belongs to Estrada.

Search warrants allege Fabian and Estrada used the Mustang to “conceal” property and “physical evidence” to show that Fabian has knowledge of Verk’s disappearance. Authorities asked for DNA, hair, blood or other evidence found in the vehicle.

Estrada hasn’t spoken publicly and declined an on-camera interview with CBS 7 after his polygraph. He said only by phone that he has no involvement in Zuzu's disapperance and hasn't seen her in over a year.

He also posted a public message on his Facebook which has since been deleted.

“I have cooperated fully,” Estrada wrote. “I gave them my phone, my GPS time line, and my car. I’m not hiding anything or protecting anyone. I hope they find Zuzu. I just want to get back to my boring life. No need to start rumors just come talk to me.”

The unusual series of events continued just as the search for Zuzu was beginning.

A close friend of Fabian, Joshua Cobos, said he stopped by his gas station in Alpine “acting very nervous.” Fabian went so far as borrowing Cobos’ cell phone to make a private call to Estrada’s girlfriend. Meanwhile, Estrada had attempted to get his white Mustang professionally cleaned at the gas station. Cobos told police he came back two more times that day.

“Cobos advised that Estrada went back to the gas station two more times that day within several horus and each time was more eager to get his vehicle cleaned,” the search warrant states.

By Sunday, October 16th, Cobos said the White Mustang had been cleaned.

Another vehicle was searched for fingerprints and evidence--a gray Ford F-150 pickup. James Carrillo told police that Fabian stopped by his house in the middle of the night on October 12th to borrow the truck. James told authorities his wife woke him up, asking for the keys for Fabian to borrow the truck.

Other unusual details emerge – an allegation that Fabian tried to delete some items from social media.

Joshua Cobos told police that Fabian left the computer at Cobos’ house and that it contained items he wanted to erase from social media.

“Additionally, Fabian stated to Cobos that he didn’t look good as he was a suspect in the disappearance investigation.”

That computer is now in the hands of police.

And then there’s Zuzu’s dog. It was spotted roaming around the backyard of her home with its leas still attached to the collar. At an initial press conference, police said the discovery of the dog lead their investigation in a “certain direction”.

As Zuzu’s smiling face looks out from her missing person flyer posted up in shops, businesses and across campus in Alpnie—her family is still holding out hope.

"We were very excited to have any type of development come through it's just one step closer to finding out what happened and where she is and right now the thing that we're hanging onto the most is where is she we just want to know where to find her," Zuzu's Mom Lori Verk said.

"My gut doesn't want to think that but the facts are slowly proving that he is and should be a suspect so he's being more closely looked into," Lori said.

For the latest updates on the search for Zuzu Verk check out our website at www.cbs7.com/findzuzu