Searchers fan out once more for missing St. Paul woman

  • Article by: JANET MOORE and HERON MARQUEZ ESTRADA , Star Tribune Staff Writers
  • Updated: March 17, 2013 - 11:59 PM

Kira Trevino was last seen Feb. 21 and is presumed to have been killed. Her husband, Jeffrey Trevino, has been charged and remains jailed in her death.

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At Crosby Farm, many searchers including Megan Perzichilli and fiance Nick Conrad, peaking in the trunk of a dead tree for clues, looked for the body of Kira Trevino.

Photo: RICHARD TSONG-TAATARII ,

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Police searching a Maplewood park this weekend for clues in the disappearance and presumed death of Kira Trevino discovered what was described as an item of interest.

St. Paul Police spokesman Howie Padilla confirmed Sunday that police searched Keller Regional Park in Maplewood on Saturday acting on a tip, one of about 100 leads received by police since Trevino went missing.

“The investigation is ongoing, and Kira has not been found,” Padilla said. “We are not elaborating at this time about anything we discovered. It is also not the first time we have found something in an area we have searched.”

Trevino, 30, was last seen Feb. 21, when she left her job as a retail sales manager at the Mall of America. Her husband, Jeffrey Trevino, was charged with murder after police discovered large amounts blood in the couple’s Payne-Phalen home and in the trunk of her car. Trevino remains in the Ramsey County jail in lieu of $1 million bail.

But so far, Kira’s body has not been found.

Authorities, family members, friends — and even strangers — searched Saturday and Sunday at Keller, where they poked along an icy creek and in the dense, snowy brush for leads.

On Sunday afternoon, a brigade of perhaps three dozen people also descended upon Crosby Lake Park in St. Paul, many in the group wearing blaze orange, sturdy boots and snow pants. Grim-faced, they fanned out into the sun-splashed woods bordering the Mississippi River, some carrying walking sticks or hoes that they poked into the ice-crusted snow.

“This family needs closure,” said Martha Lund, of New Hope, who searched for Trevino even though she had never met the woman. “I was getting teary-eyed every time I poked my stick in the snow, wondering what I would do if I found her.”

Many had heard about the crime through the news media or the Facebook page “Justice for Kira Steger Trevino.” Abbie Slotsky, a Burnsville student majoring in law enforcement at Rasmussen College, helped organize some of the searches — she, too, had never met Trevino.

“It does surprise me all the people who do come out, people who didn’t know her,” Slotsky said. “There’s a lot of good in this world.”

Searches earlier this month took place in Rosemount and Lilydale. Crosby Lake Park was chosen for this weekend’s effort because it’s an isolated spot not far from the Trevino home on St. Paul’s east side and the Bloomington megamall.

Diane Nelsen of West St. Paul first heard of the case when she spotted a “Missing” poster at a Starbucks coffee shop in the Mall of America, where Trevino managed the Delia’s teen fashion store. On Sunday, Nelsen was in Crosby Lake Park, bundled up in a bright blue parka and scanning the snowscape for clues — or worse.

Nelsen said the Trevino crime reminded her of her friend, Linda Shoebottom, who was murdered by her husband on Thanksgiving Day 29 years ago in St. Paul. “I went to Linda’s wedding — and I went to her funeral,” she said. Kira Trevino’s disappearance and presumed death “really hit home for me.”

After searching for about an hour, the group at Crosby park gathered in the parking lot and decided to search Keller.

As the skies grew gray and gloomy, a few trudged through more snow and tangled brush, and some even hacked at the banks of a creek with gardening hoes.

“She was a person,” said Lund’s 17-year-old daughter, Vanessa, who never met Trevino.

“She probably didn’t think this could happen to her.”

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