They showed up on the icy shores of Keller Lake day after day, volunteers with augers and underwater cameras, men and women with poles and spades slung over their shoulders.
They left work early to help out, or stopped by before their shifts. They helped drill and search more than 1,500 holes until the integrity of the ice began to falter under the spring sun, their feet crunching through thin ice near shore.
The search for St. Paul resident Kira Trevino, last seen alive Feb. 21 and presumed dead, quickly became a public effort.
There were the twin brothers from Shoreview who drove past Keller Lake in the pitch black of night to vet the tip that someone saw two people struggling on the ice on Feb. 22 with an object the size of a wrapped-up human body.
Visibility is awful from Hwy. 61, they told me, and there wasn’t enough moonlight that night to illuminate the lake. They researched weather conditions and the lunar cycle, and said conditions were similar on the night of their test runs. (They drove by more than once.)
You can’t see the shoreline from the highway, the brothers said, much less people on the ice. But the hole where cadaver dogs indicated a scent is right above the deepest channel in the lake, the brothers said. Kira’s husband, Jeffery Trevino, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in her disappearance.
I spent 12 hours on the lake last Friday for the first day of drilling by close family friend Mike Teige and volunteers. Two volunteers separately asked me, “Are you the guy who sleeps in his car in the parking lot?”
Not exactly, but close enough. I handed one woman my business card. “Give me a call when you see something, and I won’t have to sleep in my car anymore.”
Someone had posted that rumor on Facebook, likely someone who appeared at the lake every time something was happening, just like me and countless others, all of them with fingers crossed and breath held.
“I have never in my life met such wonderful people,” Teige said. “They’re just amazing.”