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.
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.
That's why Jodie Leko of St. Paul wants to keep searching for Kira Trevino's body.
"There are so many things going on, it blends in," she said. "People forget she's missing, which is unfortunate."