Divers come up empty in Maplewood search for St. Paul's Kira Trevino

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 22, 2013 - 3:51 PM

Divers explored the chilly water at Keller Lake, continuing a search started this weekend after an item of interest was found in the area.

A team of divers and cadaver dogs searched the icy waters of Keller Lake on Tuesday but did not find the body of Kira Trevino, missing nearly a month and presumed dead.

The search at the 73-acre lake in Maplewood started around 9 a.m. and wrapped up about 3 p.m., and marked the first time divers have been used in the ongoing search for the missing St. Paul woman.

Police said it was just one of many tips they’ve followed up on, and that search efforts will continue.

Sgt. Paul Paulos, a police spokesman, said authorities searched the area because over the weekend search dogs had “indicated” a scent trail on the ice. On Saturday, an “item of interest” was also discovered. Police have not said what that item is, and whether it was connected to the dive search.

Dogs trained in water cadaver searches were brought out Tuesday and pinpointed a location near the western shore, which is occupied by several large private homes. The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office dive team deployed a sonar device with video capability to search the lake, which is about 6 to 8 feet deep. About eight divers were then sent into the water for 20-minute intervals, said sheriff’s spokesman Randy Gustafson. They conducted 360-degree searches 40 feet from a hole cut in the ice. The ice was about 2 feet thick, and water clarity was about 5 feet.

“They’re all assisting us hoping we can bring Kira home,” Paulos said.

Kira Trevino, 30, was last seen alive on Feb. 21 when she left the Mall of America after having dinner there with her husband, Jeffery D. Trevino, 39. Kira Trevino worked at the mall as a retail sales manager at the Delia’s teen clothing store.

Jeffery Trevino was charged with two counts of second-degree murder after police discovered “copious” amounts of blood in the couple’s Payne-Phalen home and alleged attempts to cover up evidence. The couple rented a home in the 500 block of Iowa Avenue E., about 2 miles from the lake, and had a roommate who was home the night of Feb. 21. According to court documents, Kira Trevino’s family told authorities that she had been thinking of leaving her husband.

Trevino remains in the Ramsey County jail in lieu of $1 million bail. A judge last week declined to reduce his bail after Ramsey County prosecutor Richard Dusterhoft presented evidence he said indicated that Trevino would flee if he was released on bail.

Jeffery Trevino has not cooperated with police in the search.

Help from the community

Community members have mobilized on social media to search for Kira Trevino, and were out at Keller Lake this past weekend. Karol Reykjavik and Amber Hansen were at the lake searching together Tuesday when they stumbled upon the police effort.

“It’s a little eerie,” Reykjavik said.

Hansen also searched Monday.

“It’s hard to put into words,” Hansen said of her feelings about Tuesday’s search. “You want closure for the family. It just makes you sick.”

Paulos said that police had also received a tip that someone saw two people carrying an item across the lake, but would not elaborate. Police spokesman Howie Padilla said it was “dangerous” to assume that tip was related to Tuesday’s effort. Police have conducted other searches, fielded more than 100 tips and have recovered other items of interest in the case, Padilla said.

Ramsey County Parks and Recreation Director Greg Mack said he did not receive any reports this winter of open water on Keller Lake, but could not say with 100 percent certainty whether that means it has been completely frozen over. Snowmobilers use the lake on occasion, and will sometimes report open water, Mack said.

The lake is part of a chain of lakes, and most often when there is open water, Mack said, it is located near two bridges far north of where authorities searched Tuesday.

Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708
Twitter: @ChaoStrib

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