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San Francisco police search home in case of 10-year-old's disappearance nearly 30 years ago

  • San Francisco Police park a mobile command vehicle in front of a home on the 1100 block of Masonic Avenue Tuesday Jan. 29, 2013 in San Francisco, reportedly looking for evidence in the disappearance of 10-year-old Kevin Collins 29 years ago. A law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that investigators were digging in the backyard and the basement of the home near the city's Haight-Ashbury district Tuesday. (AP Photo/San Jose Mercury News, Karl Mondon) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; NO INTERNET USEThe Associated Press

  • This undated family photo shows Kevin Collins, a 10-year-old San Francisco boy who disappeared in 1984. A law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that investigators were digging in the backyard and the basement of a home near the city's Haight-Ashbury district in search of evidence in Collins' disappearance Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Family Photo via San Francisco Chronicle) NORTHERN CALIFORNIA MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTOG & CHRONICLE; MAGS OUT; NO SALESThe Associated Press

  • FILE - In this March 2, 1984 file photo, Ann and David Collins, parents of missing 10-year-old Kevin Collins, hold one of their posters during a news conference in San Francisco. Kevin Collins, disappeared Feb. 10, 1984 while returning home from basketball practice. A law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that investigators were digging in the backyard and the basement of a home near the city's Haight-Ashbury district in search of evidence in Collins' disappearance Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)The Associated Press

  • San Francisco Police park a mobile command vehicle in front of a home on the 1100 block of Masonic Avenue Tuesday Jan. 29, 2013 in San Francisco, reportedly looking for evidence in the disappearance of 10-year-old Kevin Collins 29 years ago. A law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that investigators were digging in the backyard and the basement of the home near the city's Haight-Ashbury district Tuesday. (AP Photo/San Jose Mercury News, Karl Mondon) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; NO INTERNET USEThe Associated Press

It has been nearly 30 years since 10-year-old Kevin Collins disappeared while waiting for a bus after basketball practice. His mother, now 72, said she felt numb as she watched police search a San Francisco home in connection to the decades-old cold case.

"To see them digging in a building so close to where he disappeared was shocking," Ann Collins said.

The search Tuesday of a backyard and garage of a home near the city's Haight-Ashbury district has renewed interest in the high-profile disappearance in 1984. Photographs of the freckled-face boy, plastered on milk cartons and posters throughout San Francisco, turned it into one of the first child disappearances to garner national attention.

The home search was a "follow up to the cold case investigation," police said in a statement.

A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the search warrant was sealed, said a "person of interest" in the disappearance lived in the house at the time. That person has since died, and police said the current residents were not suspects.

Police didn't disclose what prompted investigators to seek a search warrant and renew the probe into the case. The FBI and the Alameda County sheriff's department contributed to the search.

During the search, cadaver dogs indicated remains were under the concrete in the garage. Police said a preliminary review showed them to be animal bones, but the San Francisco medical examiner's office was conducting tests.

Collins, Kevin's mother, said she felt mostly "just numb" as the search took her on an emotional roller coaster ride, especially after the remains were reported to be from an animal.

Since her son's disappearance, Collins and her husband divorced, and she moved to the San Francisco suburb of Concord.

"It would be nice to have closure," she said. "But then a part of me, you know, doesn't want to find him like that."

Kevin was last seen waiting for a bus after basketball practice at St. Agnes School in the Haight. The search for him went citywide, and his photograph was on the cover of Newsweek in 1984.