The 1984 disappearance of 10-year-old Kevin Collins is one of the most well known unsolved kidnapping cases in the United States. Last seen on his way home from school, the boy was one of the first missing children to grace milk cartons making his story known nationwide.
San Francisco police have now announced the name of a man they consider to be a “person of interest” in the kidnapping. Dan Leonard Therrien, a convicted child molester who died from natural causes in 2008, may have had involvement in the boy’s disappearance.
Kevin Collins was last seen walking home from basketball practice at St. Agnes School in the Haight-Ashbury District. Witnesses claimed to have seen the boy talking with a man outside of a home on Masonic Avenue. Described to police as tall with blond hair, the man was accompanied by a large black dog.
Mercury News reports that Therrien was questioned by police in 1984 in connection with the Collins case. Although his physical appearance fit the description, witnesses were unable to identify him as the man they saw talking to the schoolboy.
Therrien voluntarily allowed investigators to search his home and was released when no evidence could be found. Police continued to investigate the kidnapping but were unsuccessful in locating Collins or his abductor.
Newly discovered factors surrounding the case and Therrein’s possible involvement have spurred authorities to release the man’s name to the public. Police stop short of classifying him as a suspect and are only calling him a “person of interest” at this time.
According to NBC News, at the time of the kidnapping, police were unaware that Therrien was a convicted child molester. Using numerous aliases throughout his life, Therrien was charged with crimes related to child sex abuse under a different name.
Throughout different points in his life, Dan Therrein was also known as Raymond William Stewart, Kelly Lee Dawson, and Kelly Sean Stewart. At the time of the Collins kidnapping in 1984, he was known to police as Wayne Jackson.
The complications surrounding Therrien’s identities prevented police from discovering a 1973 Canadian arrest. Therrien was charged for the alleged kidnapping and sexual assault of two 13-year-old boys. He reportedly disappeared before facing conviction.
Police have also uncovered a 1981 conviction in which Therrein accepted a guilty plea and served six months in prison. This case involved the kidnapping and abuse of a seven-year-old boy at Fisherman’s Wharf.
San Francisco police are making the new information about Therrein public in the hopes it will spawn new leads. During a news conference on Wednesday, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said the following:
“What we’re looking for now is anybody that saw this guy in 1984, anybody that talked to this guy back in 1984, anybody that talked to somebody that talked to this guy back in 1984. We would love to find the whereabouts of that little boy.”
Anyone with information relating to this can contact the San Francisco Police Department Major Crimes Unit at (415) 553-1145. Information can be given anonymously to authorities by calling (415) 575-4444.
Investigators will continue their efforts to solve the kidnapping of Kevin Collins, who would be 39 years old this year.