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Minn. boy was allegedly killed by dad for insurance money

MINNEAPOLIS - Unemployed, saddled with debt and holding two life insurance policies on his son Barway, Pierre Collins made two trips to the Mississippi River the day the boy went missing, prosecutors say.

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Pierre Barlee Collins. (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office via AP)

MINNEAPOLIS - Unemployed, saddled with debt and holding two life insurance policies on his son Barway, Pierre Collins made two trips to the Mississippi River the day the boy went missing, prosecutors say.

Four weeks later, the 10-year-old’s body was found in the river near the spot his father had visited, his feet bound with duct tape.
Collins, 33, was charged Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court with second-degree murder in connection with his son’s death.
He is jailed in Hennepin County with bail set at $2 million.
Long considered a suspect by police, the father has maintained his innocence.
Barway was last seen after school March 18. According to court documents filed by prosecutors, he got off the school bus at his father’s Crystal apartment at 4:17 p.m. and said, “That’s my dad” and “Oh, my uncle’s here.”
He never entered the building, instead walking in the direction of his father’s silver Volkswagen Jetta in the parking lot. Court documents do not say that Barway was seen getting in the car. Pierre Collins’ cellphone records put him near the car, which then left the parking lot, the documents said.
The phone was tracked to the area of Lyndale Avenue and 55th Avenue North in Brooklyn Center, a few blocks north of where Barway’s body was found Saturday near the west bank of the river, prosecutors said. From 4:42 to 5:41 p.m., the phone was turned off or put into airplane mode, which prevents it from transmitting or receiving a signal.
It was the second time Collins was in that area that day, according to prosecutors. They claim he drove there after a child support hearing in Hennepin County Family Court that morning, based on phone records.
Records from the past month showed that Collins had not been at that spot by the river before and that he “is not known to have any particular reason for being in this area on this or any other day,” the criminal complaint said.
He denied ever being at the river location and could offer no explanation for why his phone was tracked there, prosecutors said.
Collins was seen on surveillance video at a Cub Foods in Brooklyn Center at 5:17 p.m., checking his bank account balance at an ATM. At 5:41 p.m., he called his wife, Yamah Collins, who is not Barway’s biological mother. She told him the fourth-grader, whose mother lives in Liberia, hadn’t come home after school.
Ten minutes later, Pierre Collins arrived home in tears. His wife told police that was unusual because he rarely cried and Barway had only been missing a short while, the charges said.
Collins called 911 to report Barway missing shortly thereafter.
As police interviewed him, they found “key inconsistencies” in his story, according to the charges, including what he did the day of Barway’s disappearance, where he was and even “who his family members and siblings were.”
He said he wasn’t there when the school bus dropped off Barway and knew of no uncle who was supposed to pick him up.
Collins was out of a job at the time and had “considerable financial obligations,” the charges said. He had two life insurance policies on Barway, according to court documents. One covered Collins for $100,00 and each of his dependents for $20,000.
The other policy was for $30,000 for Barway. Two days before Barway’s disappearance, Collins made a recorded call to the provider and asked about raising the amount of coverage to $50,000, the charges said.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman acknowledged at a Tuesday news conference that authorities didn’t have a possible motive beyond the insurance. But he added: “We think it’s a strong circumstantial case.”
Freeman said he hoped to ask a grand jury for a first-degree murder indictment.
The criminal complaint said Barway’s feet were bound by duct tape and duct tape was wrapped around his torso. The condition of his body was “consistent with a person who had been in water for several weeks,” the charges said.
Barway’s body had been dumped in a storm water cistern, and was found after it came loose and entered the river. Freeman said authorities do not know how he died or whether he was dead when he was put in the water.
Freeman said authorities believe Pierre Collins acted alone but have not been able to identify the uncle.
When police spoke to Pierre Collins on Monday, he told them that “if they had enough, they should come and get him,” the charges said. He was arrested the same day.

Related Topics: CRIME
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