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Peter Boy’s father pleads guilty to manslaughter in plea deal

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS / 2016

    Peter Boy’s disappearance drew widespread attention in the years after he went missing, growing into a campaign that included posters and bumper stickers asking, “So where’s Peter?”

  • COURTESY PHOTO

    “Peter Boy” Kema Jr. was 6 years old when he disappeared 20 years ago.

  • STAR-ADVERTISER FILE

    In 1996 and 1997, extended family members, most of them now dead, were concerned that the boy’s father was abusing him. An arm injury was left untreated, festering and filling with puss until there was a hole so deep someone could put a finger inside it, Hawaii County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ricky Damerville said last year.

  • LEILA FUJIMORI / LFUJIMORI@STARADVERTISER.COM

    The Kemas’ three children are shown. Sometime between May and June 1997, the couple’s then 4-year-old daughter heard Jaylin Kema calling out for her husband and saw her trying to resuscitate the boy. The girl later saw her brother in a box, Hawaii County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ricky Damerville said.

  • LEILA FUJIMORI / LFUJIMORI@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Peter Kema, Sr., left, entered a guilty plea to manslaughter and hindering prosecution in a Hilo court today.

  • HAWAII TRIBUNE-HERALD

    Judge Greg Nakamura spoke to Peter Kema Sr. in Hilo Circuit Court today. Kema Sr. agreed to a 20-year prison sentence with a mandatory minimum of six years and eight months behind bars.

  • HAWAII TRIBUNE-HERALD

    Hawaii County deputy prosecutor Ricky Roy Damerville spoke in Hilo Circuit Court today, saying if Kema Sr. doesn’t cooperate, prosecutors can ask for a 25-year term. “This saga doesn’t end until we find that body,” he said.

  • STAR-ADVERTISER FILE

    Peter Kema Sr. and his wife, Jaylin, have long been suspects in the boy’s disappearance, but prosecutors said they didn’t have enough evidence to charge them until last year, when a grand jury indicted the couple on murder charges.

  • DARYL LEE / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

    Jaylin Kema pleaded guilty last year to manslaughter in the first official confirmation that the child was dead. In exchange for a one-year sentence with credit for time served, she agreed to waive her marital privilege and testify against her husband if he went to trial. She is scheduled to be sentenced May 30.

  • HAWAII TRIBUNE-HERALD

    Captain Randall Medeiros spoke to media after Peter Kema Sr. pled guilty today in Hilo Circuit Court.

HILO>> The father of Peter “Peter Boy” Kema Jr. pleaded guilty to manslaughter and hindering prosecution in Hilo Circuit Court today, accepting a plea deal in the murder of his young son two decades ago and agreeing to reveal where the body is located.

Peter Kema Sr. agreed to a 20-year prison sentence with a mandatory minimum of six years and eight months behind bars.

He had been scheduled to face trial April 25 before Judge Greg Nakamura on one count of second-degree murder in the death of his then 6-year-old son, who disappeared in 1997.

Peter Boy’s disappearance drew widespread attention in the years after he went missing, growing into a campaign that included posters and bumper stickers asking, “So where’s Peter?”

Hawaii County Deputy Prosecutor Rick Damerville presented the deal at a hearing at 1 p.m. today before Naka­mura.

The child’s mother, Jaylin Kema, was also charged with second-­degree murder in Peter Boy’s death, but pleaded guilty in December to manslaughter in exchange for testimony against her husband. She also pleaded guilty to second-degree theft in a welfare fraud case.

She agreed that the boy had suffered severe abuse; that she failed to get him medical treatment, probably out of fear of her husband; and that the boy died of septic shock. Jaylin Kema was also severely abused by her husband, the prosecutor told the court. She is scheduled to be sentenced May 30.

Prosecutors say Jaylin Kema does not know where the body is.

In 1997 Peter Kema told police that he brought his son to Oahu and gave him to an “Auntie Rose Makuakane” at Aala Park while looking for work. But police could neither find such a woman nor any evidence they had flown to Oahu from Hawaii island.

The Kemas had three older children who survived the abuse.


Click here to view our previous coverage on “Peter Boy” Kema’s disappearance. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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