The San Francisco Police Department held a press conference today to release new information about who they called a “person of interest” in the 1984 disappearance of 10-year-old Kevin Collins.
The individual is Wayne Jackson, former resident of a Masonic Avenue home that police searched last week in connection with the Collins case. Small bones, believed to be animal remains, were discovered below the garage.
Jackson — also known under the names of Dan Leonard Therrien, Raymond William Stewart, Kelly Lee Dawson and Kelly Sean Stewart — was interviewed in the early stages of the investigation in 1984. No witnesses were able to identify him, though he lived close to the area where Kevin’s abduction happened and owned a dog similar to one that witnesses described Jackson as having.
Jackson also had a previous history of child abductions, Lt. Tim Plyer of the city homicide detail said at the press conference. He was arrested in 1981 in Fisherman’s Wharf on charges of kidnapping and committing lewd acts with a seven-year-old boy. He paid bail and never showed up to court, but was arrested again in 1982 and pleaded guilty.
SFPD was unaware at the time of Kevin’s disappearance that Jackson was also wanted in Canada, under a different name, for a 1973 incident in which he kidnapped and assaulted two 13-year-old boys.
It has since been discovered that Jackson had five different identities, which was in part why he was never apprehended, Plyer said. He died of natural causes on Feb. 2, 2008 under the name Dan Leonard Therrien.
Plyer was asked at the press conference what good there is in investigating a person known to be dead. He responded:
“Our goal from the beginning is to solve the case. …That’s the function of the cold case unit. We’ll continue to look at everybody and follow up on every lead.”
SFPD is releasing photographs of Jackson and information about his multiple aliases in the hopes that someone will recognize or know him. However, Plyer said that Jackson is not their prime suspect and they will continue to investigate all suspects and leads.
SFPD Chief of Police Greg Suhr told the press:
“We’re in a position where we need to get your help and the public’s help…This case is a case that haunts the San Francisco Police Department, the city of San Francisco and has pretty much throughout the entire careers of everyone who is standing here.”
Kevin Collins would have turned 39 on Jan. 24.