The man who is now being called a person of interest in the famous 1984 disappearance of 10-year-old Kevin Collins had a history of kidnapping and sexually assaulting young boys — including an incident in Fisherman’s Wharf — but police said no witnesses have been able to connect him to the cold case.
On Wednesday, police revealed that a mysterious child predator who changed his identification at least five times — most recently going by Dan Leonard Therrien — had lived in an Upper Haight duplex near the Panhandle bus stop where Collins was last seen.
Last week, investigators said, that property on Masonic Avenue was searched more thoroughly after investigators learned more about Therrien’s past.
Police said they recently learned about a 1973 case in Canada in which Therrien, who went by a different name then, kidnapped and sexually assaulted three 13-year-old boys.
At the time of Collins’ disappearance, investigators said they had already known that Therrien, who went by Wayne Jackson in the early 1980s, had been convicted for committing lewd acts with a
7-year-old boy at Fisherman’s Wharf in 1981. He was sentenced to six months in prison for the crime.
Therrien also matched the description of the man with a black dog who was seen chatting with Collins at the bus stop at Masonic Avenue and Oak Street. While Therrien also had a black dog, two witnesses could not positively identify him, Police Chief Greg Suhr said.
Six days after Collins’ disappearance, Suhr added, police interviewed Therrien and he agreed to let them search the duplex.
According to public records, Therrien died in 2008 while living in the Sunset district. Police said they don’t know his birth name or real age because they don’t have his birth certificate.
Suhr said the case continues to “haunt” the Police Department.
“Since Feb. 10, 1984, there hasn’t been a tip we didn’t act on,” the police chief said.
Collins, then a fourth-grader, had left basketball practice at St. Agnes School on Page Street, but never arrived at his home at Sutter and Broderick streets. His disappearance garnered national attention, and Collins’ image was one of the first to appear on milk cartons. His photo even made the cover of Newsweek magazine.