Question: Whatever happened to the case of Peter "Peter Boy" Kema Jr., the Big Island boy who disappeared in 1997?
Answer: Peter Boy, who would turn 20 on Sunday, remains missing.
An age-progression rendering of what Peter Boy would look like as a 19-year-old was created by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and posted on its website last year.
The depiction was computer-generated based on photos of the missing 6-year-old child, his parents and siblings, said Missing Child Center-Hawaii Director Charlene Takeno.
Takeno said the state agency has received no new tips on Peter Boy.
Peter Boy’s father, Peter Kema Sr., told police he gave the child to a longtime family friend named Aunty Rose Makuakane on Oahu in the summer of 1997. Police have never determined whether such a person existed.
Peter Boy’s mother, Jaylin Kema, didn’t file a missing-person report with police until January 1998.
In 2000, police reclassified the case as a murder investigation. On June 2, 2000, upon completion of its investigation, the Hawaii County Police Department turned over its report and copies of its voluminous case files to the county Prosecutor’s Office for review, said police Capt. Randall Medeiros, a detective on the case.
In 2005, the case came to light again when Lillian Koller, then director of the state Department of Human Services, released 2,000 pages of confidential documents in the case. The state documents revealed that Peter Boy’s sister told a psychologist in June 1998 that she had seen Peter Boy’s dead body in her father’s car trunk and in a box in her parents’ closet and that they took the box to Honolulu.
The documents also showed the girl told the psychologist that her father gave Peter Boy and her mother "dirty lickings," which included punching, hitting and slapping. She also said their father threw Peter Boy naked into a trash can and forced him to eat feces, the documents said.
Koller told the Star-Bulletin in 2007, "I think it’s pretty obvious this child is not just missing but has perished."
Medeiros said Big Island police conducted an exhaustive search for the boy and Makuakane on Oahu with the help of Honolulu police. With help from the Florida state government, they also searched in Florida. Peter Kema Sr. told police that Makuakane was moving to that state.
It is up to prosecutors to decide whether to pursue prosecution. Deputy Prosecutor Mike Kagami said the case remains inactive.
In 2005, a temporary restraining order was taken out by Adult Protective Services against Peter Kema Sr. to protect Jaylin Kema, state court records show. The Kemas have divorced.
Medeiros said: "I’m hopeful that someday this case will see the inside of a courtroom."
This update was written by Leila Fujimori. Suggest a topic for "Whatever Happened To …" by writing Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-210, Honolulu 96813; call 529-4747; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.