Kevin Andrew Collins (born January 24, 1974 — disappeared February 10, 1984) gained national attention as one of the first missing children to appear on milk cartons and on the cover of national publications, such as Newsweek magazine in 1984. His abduction from San Francisco city streets helped bring to light the plight of missing and exploited children in the U.S.
Kevin Andrew Collins
January 24, 1974
|Disappeared||February 10, 1984 (aged 10)|
Oak Street & Masonic Avenue, San Francisco, California, U.S.
|Status||Missing for 38 years, 8 months and 24 days|
|Height||4 ft 6 in (137 cm)|
Collins was born in San Francisco to David and Ann Collins, a working-class family with nine children. He was a fourth-grader at St. Agnes School in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. His family lived on Sutter Street in the city's Western Addition.
On February 10, 1984, he left early from basketball practice in the school's gymnasium between 6:10 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. One of his older brothers, eleven-year-old Gary, normally would have accompanied Kevin to basketball practice but was home sick that day. Kevin was last seen at approximately 7:55 p.m. at the corner of Oak Street and Masonic Avenue, waiting for the No. 43 bus. Witnesses reported seeing him at the bus stop talking to a tall blond-haired man. He was never seen or heard from again.
Prior to Amber Alerts, national TV shows (such as America's Most Wanted) and local news and print advertisements were the only way to inform the general public of a child's disappearance. Following the evening of Kevin's disappearance, posters with his picture were distributed and displayed on telephone poles and storefront windows around San Francisco. Notably, a missing poster featuring Collins inadvertently appeared in the 1984 film The Terminator, which was filmed and set in California. It can be seen pinned to a board on the left of the screen as Paul Winfield's character is shot by the titular antagonist during the police station shootout. The poster also appears in the 1984 movie A Nightmare on Elm Street during a scene in a police station.
In the days that passed, billboards, milk cartons, and national magazine covers showing Kevin's picture circulated nationwide as the country searched for the boy. This, along with the development of a 1983 television movie about the kidnapping and murder of Adam Walsh, helped spark nationwide interest in the plight of missing children. Parents were educated on how to better protect their children from stranger abductions and law enforcement officials learned how to better coordinate their response to child abductions.
The strain of Kevin's disappearance and the search for their son eventually led David and Ann Collins to divorce.
On November 14, 2005, a purported identity thief pleaded guilty to stealing Kevin's name when applying for a passport in his name. Thinking that the case was too old for anybody to remember, he applied using the name "Kevin Andrew Collins" and provided falsified documentation to obtain a passport. A state department employee who was processing the paperwork remembered the Kevin Collins abduction and alerted authorities.
On January 29, 2013, police served a search warrant on a house in the 1100 block of Masonic Avenue. The concrete floor was removed after cadaver dogs indicated the possible presence of remains. It was reported, however, that preliminary reports indicated the remains to be from an animal, not a human. One month later, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released an age-enhanced image to show what Kevin may look like at 39.
- Jim Herron Zamora (February 10, 2006). "Identity thief purloined name of missing child Use of 'Kevin Collins' lands him in prison". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 27, 2011.
- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
- Elizabeth Weise (February 20, 1994). "A Decade of Pain Wipes Out All Hope in Family of Missing Child : San Francisco: Kevin Collins was 10 when he vanished. Kin held memorial service to let him go, but their lives will never be the same". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
- Jaxon Van Derbeken; Vivian Ho; Nanette Asimov (January 30, 2013). "New Kevin Collins search in S.F." San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
- "Kevin Andrew Collins Age Progression". National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Retrieved January 5, 2019.