Kevin Andrew Collins

Kevin Andrew Collins

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 America.

Kevin Collins was born in 1974 to David and Ann Collins, a working-class family with nine children, and was a fourth-grader at St. Agnes School in the Haight district of San Francisco. His family lived on Sutter Street in the city's Western Addition.

Abduction

On February 10, 1984, Kevin left early from basketball practice in the school's gym at either 6:00 or 6:30 p.m. His brother Gary, a sixth-grader, 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 man with a large black dog. He was never seen or heard from again.

Community and nationwide response

Prior to Amber Alerts, national TV shows (such as America's Most Wanted) and the Internet, 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.

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.

Aftermath

To this date, Kevin's whereabouts are unknown, and there are no new leads in the 24 year-old case.

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.

References

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