Alpine Search Efforts Ongoing – UPDATE
Alpine, Texas – We first reported that on Tuesday, October 18, 2016, the Texas Rangers called the TEXSAR, Texas Search and Rescue, Emergency Activation Line and requested search planning assistance for the Zuzu Renee Verk missing person case in Alpine, Texas. Ms. Verk, a student at Sul Ross University in Alpine, Texas, was last heard from Wednesday, October 12.
On February 7, 2017, TEXSAR was again summoned by the Texas Rangers to return to Brewster County to assist in the search for additional evidence relating to missing ZuZu Verk. A Border Patrol Agent had found human remains in the area and the Rangers were requesting TEXSAR K9 teams to search for more evidence. The bones were determined to be those of Ms. Verk and, after searching the designated area, a shallow grave was located.
With a lump in our throats, we finally say goodbye to Alpine, TX. We had the privilege of working with some of the finest law enforcement professionals around.
Our initial press release read:
Dozens of TEXSAR team members from the Gulf Coast, Coastal Bend, Central Texas, North Texas, and West Texas, converged in Alpine in October to work in coordination with the Brewster County Sheriff Department, Alpine Police, Texas Rangers, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Forestry Service, Texas Equusearch, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and Border Patrol. The TEXSAR Search Management team was tasked with coordinating the Search Branch at the direction of Sheriff Ronny Dodson while Alpine Police Chief Russell Scown led the investigation.
Known for its expertise in search planning and incident Management, TEXSAR search planners and GIS specialists’ utilized information gleaned from local authorities to formulate probability maps based upon the science and behavior of missing persons. TEXSAR search assets, including K9 and ground search teams, were assigned high profile areas, looking for any evidence that might lead to information about the disappearance of Ms. Verk. Through the coordinated efforts of multiple agencies from around the state, more than 225 square miles has been searched in this ongoing incident.
“I am humbled and honored to serve with such passionate highly trained individuals. Our command staff, planners, GSARs (Ground Search and Rescue), Mantrackers, and K-9s worked seamlessly with agency partners in West Texas this week. Members in specialty disciplines traveled from as far away as Houston and Corpus Christi and they worked with a single purpose that is difficult to articulate or imagine. We do not stop and we do not quit until the lost come home. We are TEXSAR Tough,” said Dawn Keller, TEXSAR West Texas Division Leader.
TEXSAR: Texas Search and Rescue is a first responder organization of professionally trained volunteers focused on Search and Rescue, incident response, and disaster response, with teams in Central Texas, the Gulf Coast, North Texas, West Texas, and Coastal Bend. In addition to emergency response situations, TEXSAR serves as force multipliers for local public safety agencies, deploying water rescue personnel, search and rescue technicians, medical personnel, wildland and structural firefighters.
TEXSAR deploys throughout the state of Texas at the request of local, state and federal agencies, working in support of those agencies to offer a wide variety of highly specialized resources that may not be otherwise available; there is never a charge for services to requesting agencies or individuals. TEXSAR relies on donations to provide the resources needed to respond when called.
To learn more about TEXSAR or to make a donation, go to www.TEXSAR.org.
For media inquiries, please contact Justen Noakes at Justen.Noakes@texsar.org or 512-956-6727.