Body of Kira Steger found in Mississippi River


Kira Steger

Prosecution seeks extended deadline in husband’s trial

A body that was pulled from the Mississippi River near Robert Street in St. Paul on Wednesday, May 8, has been identified as Kira Steger (Trevino), 30.

A resident who works in the area saw the body floating in the river and notified police at about 1:30 p.m. May 8. The St. Paul Fire Department responded by boat and removed the heavily decomposed corpse from between two barges.

The body was taken to the Ramsey County medical examiner’s office, where it was identified as Kira Steger.

Senior Commander Brian Coyle of the St. Paul homicide unit said in a press conference on Thursday, May 9, that police were relieved to have located her body and their thoughts were with Kira’s family.

Her parents, Marcie and Jay Steger, live in central Wisconsin and were immediately notified that their daughter’s body had been found. “I’m sure the family is feeling mixed emotions. There’s a sense of loss. Our hearts and minds are with you,” Coyle said.

He said that investigators put hundreds of hours into the search, but their work is not over. “The investigation doesn’t stop just because Kira was found.”

A statement from Dennis Gerhardstein, spokesman for the Ramsey County attorney’s office, said: “We are grateful that the body of Kira Steger has been recovered for the sake of her family and all those that loved her.”

Although authorities previously referred to the victim as Kira Trevino when discussing the case, they are now using her legal surname, Steger, in documents relating to the murder investigation.

New evidence

On May 10, the Ramsey County attorney’s office filed a request for an extended deadline in the murder trial of Kira’s 39-year-old husband, Jeffery Trevino.

The request, sent to District Court Judge Leonardo Castro, states that the DNA tests and other analyses of the body’s condition will require more time. Originally, Trevino’s trial was scheduled for May 28 because the prosecution did not yet have a body.

However, the located body seems to carry a wealth of information that could be used against Jeffery Trevino.

The request states that Kira Steger was found unclothed, wearing no jewelry. She had suffered “a head wound, broken finger, bruising inside her upper lip and lacerations to her liver,” it says.

Additionally, a wad of duct tape was stuck in her hair. The tape had several white hairs in it as well, which have been identified as animal hair. At the time of her death, Kira owned a small white dog named Cayman.

In mid-March, volunteer searchers discovered a plastic bag filled with bloody clothing and bed linens that matched Kira’s DNA profile. The bag was sealed with duct tape, which prosecutors believe matches the duct tape found on the body.

Additionally, the request states that some partially digested food in Kira’s stomach could help investigators narrow down the time of her death.

The prosecution needs more time to answer several critical questions: When and how did Kira die? Did Kira suffer the injuries pre- or post- mortem? Does the animal hair on the tape match her dog’s? Does the duct tape in her hair match the tape used on the evidence found at Keller Lake?

These DNA and forensic tests will take approximately six weeks to administer, which would set the trial around the end of June, if the extended deadline is granted.

Victim disappeared Feb. 21

Jeffery Trevino has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Before the discovery, the prosecution had planned to move forward on the trial without a body, but Coyle said the uncovered evidence would be added to the criminal complaint.

Kira Steger was last seen publicly Feb. 21. Jeffery Trevino reported his wife missing on Feb. 24, and detectives said they discovered enough blood in the couple’s home on the East Side of St. Paul to presume Kira had been murdered.

According to the criminal complaint, there was also evidence that someone had attempted to clean the bloodstains with bleach and other cleaning supplies, including a carpet cleaning machine. The extended deadline request states that the bloodstains in the home were proving difficult to test because of the cleaning chemicals that were used.

The couple also lived with a roommate, Matthew Roff, who has not been mentioned as a person of interest in the case. Investigators have issued a search warrant for his Facebook account records in hopes that his online communications with Jeffery Trevino might yield critical information.

A search warrant also was obtained for the couple’s Facebook account records. A friend reported that Jeffery Trevino had included the acronym “NWNP” in several posts after Kira was reported missing. The friend thought it stood for “No Witnesses, No Proof,”.

Acquaintances reported the couple were having marital problems and planned to move into separate residences on April 1. Kira had also experienced a series of car problems, which the complaint describes as “deliberate sabotage.”

Volunteer searchers expressed their relief that Kira’s body had been found on the “Justice for Kira Steger Trevino” Facebook page, many saying “Rest in Peace, Kira.”

Johanna Holub can be reached at jholub@lillienews.com or 651-748-7814.

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