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.
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.
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.