Volunteers' search for missing Minnesota woman turns up nothing

  • Article by: KELLY SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 9, 2013 - 9:41 PM

Another search is planned for today for Kira Trevino, missing for more than two weeks.

As they plan their wedding, Matt Evans and Diane Fernandez owe it to two of their guests for introducing them years ago: Jeffery and Kira Trevino.

But on Saturday, the couple from Becker, Minn., took a break from wedding preparations to search for Kira Trevino’s body as her husband sits in jail, charged with killing her.

“We’re both still in shock; we just want her found,” Fernandez said. “She would do the same thing if it was someone else.”

As freezing rain fell, the couple joined about 25 people at the remote Spring Lake Park Reserve in Rosemount to search for any signs of the 30-year-old St. Paul woman, last seen more than two weeks ago. While no confirmed tips had led them to the park, Evans said Jeffery Trevino, 39, loved to fish there in an area overlooking the Mississippi River, which is about 20 minutes away from his St. Paul home.

The searchers carried walking canes and plodded through deep snow in boots or snowshoes, combing the woods and brush. Most didn’t know the Trevinos but said they had been moved by the case or simply felt compelled to help because they too had a daughter.

Heather Leopold of St. Paul was one of them, her sixth time volunteering for a local missing person search — none of which was successful. But she wasn’t discouraged Saturday.

“It takes people like this to find something,” she said. “You just never know.”

Another search will take place at noon Sunday in St. Paul’s Lilydale Park. Volunteers can meet at the park’s main entrance at 950 Lilydale Road.

Staying hopeful

As of Saturday, St. Paul police had received more than 100 tips in the case, Sgt. Paul Paulos said, but he wouldn’t confirm or deny rumors that law enforcement officers were searching elsewhere.

“We’re following leads,” he said, adding that, although law enforcement officers weren’t part of the public search, the assistance is needed. “Anything that can help bring her home will help. Until the body is found, there is hope.”

Police are continuing to take tips at 651-560-3277.

Saturday’s and Sunday’s public searches were organized by Abbie Slotsky, 27, of Burnsville, a student at Rasmussen College who is pursuing a career in law enforcement. She said she picked the park simply because it’s one of many in a 100-mile radius of the couple’s home. An earlier search was done at a Bloomington refuge.

“It’s a disappointment,” she said of searches turning up nothing, “but I’ll keep doing it until she’s found.”

Keeping her story alive

Kira Trevino was reported missing Feb. 24, three days after she was last seen leaving her job at the Mall of America. Her car was found abandoned in the mall ramp, and police presume she’s dead based on large amounts of blood found in the couple’s Payne-Phalen home. Police haven’t been able to establish, though, where Jeffery Trevino was between the night of Feb. 21 and morning of Feb. 22.

It’s one of several recent cases of local missing women who authorities say were victims of homicide.

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  • Photo gallery: Looking for Kira

    Saturday March 9, 2013

    Another search is planned for Sunday for Kira Trevino, missing for more than two weeks. Her husband is charged...

  • Jen McCutcheon of Lakeville, front, and her daughter Kayla, 16, search...

  • Rain soaked a poster about missing St. Paul woman Kira Trevino on a picnic table in Spring Lake Reserve, along the Mississippi River Saturday, March 9, 2013 in Rosemount, MN, where a search for Trevino’s body took place. Seated next to the poster was volunteer searcher Rick Kmett of Albertville, who gave a prayer prior to the start of the search.] (DAVID JOLES/STARTRIBUNE) djoles@startribune.com Volunteers searched the Spring Lake Reserve Saturday, March 9, 2013, in Rosemount, near the Mississippi River for the body of Kira Trevino, the St. Paul woman who went missing on Feb.24. Jeffery Trevino, 39, was charged...

  • missing woman Kira Trevino . Photo courtesy of the family.

  • Jen McCutcheon of Lakeville, front, and daughter Kayla, 16, searched a hill in Spring Lake Park Reserve, along the Mississippi River, for signs of Kira Trevino on Saturday. The park was said to be a favorite fishing spot of Trevino’s husband, Jeffery, who is charged with murder even though no body has been found.

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