San Francisco police today released more information about a person of interest in the disappearance of 10-year-old Kevin Collins from the city’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood nearly three decades ago.
Dan Leonard Therrien, who also went by Wayne Jackson as well as three other aliases, died in San Francisco in 2008 but investigators are seeking more information from someone who might have seen or talked to him around the time of the disappearance on Feb. 10, 1984.
“This case is a case that haunts the San Francisco Police Department,” police Chief Greg Suhr said.
Kevin was last seen at Masonic Avenue and Oak Street after leaving basketball practice at nearby St. Agnes School and was seen by multiple witnesses standing beside a white man about 6 feet tall with blonde hair who had a large black dog, police Lt. Tim Plyer said.
Therrien, who lived nearby in the 1100 block of Masonic Avenue, owned a large black dog and had a criminal history including a 1981 arrest under the name Wayne Jackson for lewd acts on a 7-year-old boy near Fisherman’s Wharf, Plyer said.
After he posted bail and did not appear in court for the case, police caught up with him in 1982 at the Masonic Avenue home, where he gave the name Kelly Sean Stewart. He was eventually convicted for lewd acts on a child and was sentenced to six months in jail and three years’ probation, Plyer said.
Investigators also recently discovered that Therrien was arrested under the name Raymond William Stewart in 1973 in Canada for kidnapping and sexually assaulting two 13-year-old boys there, but was released and fled the country, Plyer said.
He was never arrested again on those charges, in part because of the use of the multiple identities, Plyer said.
Given the similar description, his criminal history and his residence near where Kevin was last seen, he is considered a person of interest in the case, according to Plyer. Therrien died of natural causes in the city’s Sunset District in 2008, he said.
Police thought they might have cracked the case last week when they decided to search the Masonic Avenue home with cadaver dogs that uncovered bones underneath the concrete floor of the garage.
However, the preliminary assessment by the medical examiner’s office indicates that the bones are from an animal, Plyer said.
Suhr said that Therrien was detained and interviewed in the early days after Kevin’s disappearance and consented to a search of the home, but it came up empty. The witnesses who last saw Kevin also did not pick Therrien out of a photo lineup, he said.
Police recently interviewed Therrien’s former roommate who lived with him in 1984, but are still seeking more information from other sources during that period.
“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,” Suhr said. “We would love to find the whereabouts of that little boy.”
The chief said investigators talked to Ann Collins, Kevin’s mother, about the recent updates in the case and “she’s appreciative that we’re still working on this.”
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Police Department’s homicide detail at (415) 553-1145, the anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or to send a tip by text message to TIP411 with “SFPD” in the message.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News