The Kevin Collins Case Turns
POSTED: 11:42 am PST February 10, 2004
UPDATED: 8:23 am PST February 11, 2004
SAN FRANCISCO -- Twenty years ago, a freckle-faced, wide-eyed 10-year-old boy disappeared without a trace from a San Francisco street corner and gave birth to what has become the missing children's movement in America.
The search for Kevin Collins was the starting blueprint for those that followed -- Polly Klaas, Amber Swartz, Ilene Misheloff, Michaela Garecht among others -- who over the years have vanished from their Bay Area homes.
Posters with his haunting picture sprung up on poles, on windows, billboards, even national magazine covers as folks in the Bay Area, then the country searched, hoped and prayed along with his family for the boy's safe return.
"Poof, yeah, he was there and then he's gone and nobody knows where he went," said Rich Hesselroth, a retired San Francisco police captain who worked on the case.
For those like Hesselroth who were involved it seems hard to believe that it was 20 years ago and still Kevin Collins remains missing.
There have been many suspects and leads through the years, but none have shed any light upon what happened to the young boy. One suspect was convicted Northern California child killer John Dunkel, whose three known victims resembled Collins. And there have been hundreds of others -- family friends, acquaintances and total strangers.
KTVU also has learned for the first time that about two years ago, when the priest sex abuse scandals were raging, San Francisco police dusted off the little fourth grader's file and took a new look at Kevin's church.
"The basement of the church did have a lot of rooms…catacomb-like," Hesselroth said. "I don't know that we were ever there (during the original search) because nothing led us to there."
There's still a reward in the case, but no amount of money or effort has helped solve the mystery and bring peace to a family that was torn apart February 10th, 1984.
David and his wife, Ann, have divorced since that day. Ann Collins says her children not only lost their brother that day, they also lost their parents. For many years, David Collins spent all his time at a foundation named after his son.
"The first four or five years, it certainly was consuming and difficult emotionally," said David Collins, Kevin's father. "It was tough on the family."
Kevin's sister, Michelle Susoeff, said she believes Kevin is likely dead but wants closure.
"I really would like to know what happened, I want to know where he is and whom did it and I want them prosecuted," she said.
Kevin's mother also believes he has died.
"I really think in my heart -- I feel like probably -- he was gone that first night and I just always pray it was fast," she said.
Hesselroth says he doesn't know if Kevin's fate will ever truly be known.
"Somebody out there knows (what happened), but will that somebody ever tell us?" the retired detective said. "Somebody does know the answer."
Date Missing: 2/10/1984
Case #: 840167303
Name: Kevin Andrew Collins
Address: San Francisco, Ca
Weight: 72 lbs.
Date of Birth: 1/24/1974
OTHER INFORMATION BELOW
Photo to the right has been age enhanced to show how Kevin might look at 15 years old.
Kevin vanished February 10, 1984. The fourth-grader at St. Agnes School in the Haight-Ashbury district was last seen at a bus stop at the corner of Oak and Masonic streets of San Francisco CA in the late afternoon, talking to a tall, blonde man who has a large black dog.
Kevin has gray-green eyes and a small scar on his tongue. He was last seen wearing a white shirt, a green sweater and brown corduroy pants and possibly has a green sweater and Giants jacket with him.
Anyone with information regarding Kevin's whereabouts is encouraged to call Amber Center Missing and Exploited Children HOTLINE at: 1-800-541-0777.
If you have any information regarding this case please contact
San Francisco Police Department 1-415-553-7400
The story of Kevin Collins is San Francisco's heartbreak. Kevin was last seen on February 10, 1984, waiting for the northbound No. 43 bus at the corner of Oak Street and Masonic Avenue.
His disappearance from the City's sidewalks came at a time before Americans had adequately responded to the tragedy of missing and exploited children. There was no Megan's Law, America's Most Wanted, nor the many groups, toll free numbers, web sites, child I.D. kits, and other resources that will help the parents of a child who is abducted today. It may never be known if any of these resources would have found Kevin or prevented his abduction.
Kevin was one of nine children from a working class family. His father, David Collins, was a truck driver and nursing student. Kevin was a bright, well-liked 4th grader. On the day of his disappearance, Kevin, of St. Agnes School (755 Ashbury Street), left the school's gym at a separate facility on Page Street between Ashbury and Masonic at or around 6 p.m. Those closest to the boy speculate that he slipped out of the after school basketball practice in order to catch the 43 and avoid piling in the coach's van with bigger, perhaps more intimidating, kids. Students up to the 8th grade were participating in the practice while Kevin's brother Gary, a 6th grader and constant companion of Kevin's, was sick and stayed home that day.
Kevin was last seen at 6:30. In the hours and days after he failed to arrive home at 2502 Sutter Street, volunteers circulated 2000 posters in a 200-block radius of St. Agnes. The well publicized photo of Kevin is haunting because his vulnerability is so obvious and the reality of his vanishing so sad. Kevin Collins would be 30 years old at this writing on the 20th anniversary of his disappearance.
Identity thief gets prison for taking name of missing kid
OAKLAND, Calif. - A man who tried to use the identity of a famous kidnapped child to get a passport was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison, prosecutors said.
Behzad Mofrad, 40, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Oakland on a passport fraud conviction.
He pleaded guilty last year to taking Kevin Andrew Collins' name from an online directory of missing children and using the name and Social Security number to try to establish a bogus identity.
Collins was 10 when he was abducted from a San Francisco street corner in 1984, drawing national attention. He was among the first missing children whose pictures were printed on milk cartons across the country. He was never found.
Mofrad, who had addresses in Pinole and San Ramon, drew suspicion when a State Department clerk remembered the abduction and forwarded the file to investigators.
"He really made a serious error in choosing this name," said Thomas Depenbrock, of the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service, which investigates passport fraud. "I don't think he knew what he had gotten into, that this name was well known."
Collins' mother was in court and said she didn't think Mofrad's apology was sincere.
"I'm glad he said he's sorry but I think he's just sorry he got caught," said Ann Collins. "It's despicable that he stole the only thing Kevin had left - his name. Kevin never got to work. Kevin never got to drive car. But this thief comes along and wants to steal his name so he can escape the law