Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Dead man identified as ‘Person of interest’ in ’84 missing child case

San Francisco police are seeking information on a dead man in the 1984 disappearance of 10-year-old Kevin Collins.

Wayne Jackson in 1982 (Photo: SFPD)

Wayne Jackson in 1982 (Photo: SFPD)

Police have identified the man as Wayne Jackson, who died from an apparent heart attack under the name Dan Leonard Therrien in February 2008 at the age of 51. Police Chief Greg Suhr announced the details in the Collins case today (Wednesday, February 6) at a Hall of Justice news conference, saying police want the public to provide information.

Jackson, who appears to have been gay, also went by the names Raymond William Stewart, Kelly Lee Dawson, and Kelly Sean Stewart, according to police. Police said he had a criminal history that included lewd acts with young boys. Collins’s remains haven’t been found.

According to a medical examiner’s office record, Jackson’s domestic partner, Jack Chow, reported his death.

Suhr, who recalled how he and others had worked on the investigation almost 30 years ago, said the case “haunts the San Francisco Police Department and the city of San Francisco.” The Collins family has remained in contact with the SFPD.

According to police Lieutenant Tim Plyer, Collins’s parents reported him missing February 10, 1984, after the St. Agnes School student didn’t return from basketball practice.

Jackson’s multiple names and IDs apparently helped him elude police for years.

Plyer said that Jackson had been wanted in Canada under the name Raymond William Stewart for a 1973 incident in which he allegedly kidnapped and sexually assaulted two 13-year-old boys. He was charged in the case, but he was released and later fled the country.

In April 1981, San Francisco police arrested him under the Jackson name for kidnapping and committing lewd acts on a 7-year-old boy near Fisherman’s Warf. He bailed out of custody in that case and failed to return to court, and a warrant was issued.

Police arrested him on the warrant in March 1982. Jackson, who initially identified himself as Kelly S. Stewart, pleaded guilty to felony lewd acts on a child. He served six months in county jail and was granted three years probation.

It’s not known if Jackson is the legal name, but police are using that identity since that’s the name he was using when they first arrested him. The medical examiner’s office lists Jackson’s name as Dan Therrien.

SFPD cold case inspectors began reviewing the Collins case in late 2012 and obtained additional information about Jackson, police said Wednesday. They gathered enough information to obtain a search warrant for a residence in the 1100 block of Masonic Avenue, where Jackson had lived in 1984. The home is near Masonic and Oak streets, where Collins was last seen. Jackson had consented to a search of the residence during the initial investigation, Suhr said.

On Tuesday, January 29, cadaver dogs from the Alameda County Sheriff’s office indicated the possibility of remains under the garage’s concrete floor. Some of the garage was excavated and several small bones were located, but the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office has preliminarily determined they’re animal bones, according to police.

Plyer indicated improved abilities to use cadaver dogs were a key development in the investigation. Suhr said Jackson’s criminal history and his proximity to where Collins was last seen were among the factors that have led police to focus on him.

Plyer said police have spoken with Chow, who apparently now lives in Canada, but he declined to discuss many details on how the investigation would proceed. Asked about what kind of work Jackson had been involved with, he said Jackson had done “mechanical” work around the house, including working on cars and motorcycles.

According to the medical examiner’s report, on February 2, 2008, Jackson had been napping on the couple’s couch and was unresponsive when Chow tried to wake him up to feed their dogs. Officials declared Jackson dead just after 4 p.m.

The couple was living in the 2300 block of Moraga Avenue at the time of Jackson’s death, according to the document.

Bay City News and KGO TV Channel 7 appear to have been the first to report on Chow and Jackson living together at the time of the boy’s disappearance. Chow couldn’t be reached for comment. Several media outlets had reported Jackson’s identification prior to Suhr’s announcement today.

For more photos of Jackson, visit the SFPD website.

Suhr asked anyone who may have information in the case to contact the San Francisco Police Department homicide unit at (415) 553-1145. Information can be given anonymously at (415) 575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 and begin the message with SFPD.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 6, 2013 @ 4:57 pm PST
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