‘Peter Boy’ gets justice: 20 years later after Hawaii boy’s disappearance, ‘dad’ takes plea deal

Peter Kema Jr., also known as “Peter Boy,” was just a 6-year-old when he disappeared 20 years ago. His father, Peter Kema Sr., made a plea deal on Wedmesday, and promised to lead detectives to the boy’s body.

Peter Kema Sr, 46, pleaded “guilty” to manslaughter, along with hindering prosecution, in a plea deal that guarantees he won’t get more than 20 years in prison if continues to cooperate with authorities. According to a complaint filed by the The Hawaii County Prosecutor’s Office, Kerma Sr. will have to serve a mandatory minimum of six years and eight months before he’s eligible for parole. Prosecutor Mitch Roth said that he’s confident that Kerma Sr. will serve the majority of, if not all of the 20 years, behind bars.

“I have a lot of faith in the parole board that he’ll probably do most of that 20 years, if not all of the 20 years.”

Hawaii County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ricky Damerville added that if Kema Sr. doesn’t cooperate and fails to lead authorities to the little boy’s remains, the sentence could be changed to 25 years.

“This saga doesn’t end until we find that body.”

Kema Sr. didn’t provide any details of the boy’s death while in court on Wednesday. Most of his answers were short “yes” or “no” responses when asked questions. When the judge asked him if he caused Peter Boy’s death by failing to get him medical treatment, Kema Sr. said, “yes.”

The Backstory

Peter Boy Kema disappeared from The Big Island in 1997. His mother, Jaylin Kema, told police she last saw her son around August 1997. Kema Sr. said he brought the boy with him to Honolulu during the time, and due to lack of employment and resources, gave his son to “Auntie” Rose Maukuakane. Authorities never bought the story. They never found the mysterious Auntie Rose, and had doubts that the woman actually existed. The parents were named as primary suspects early on.

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In June 1997, Peter Boy’s sister heard her mother crying out and trying to resuscitate Peter Boy. She said she later saw her brother being carried away in a box by her father. Authorities thought that the boy died from septic shock after not receiving medical care. It took nearly 20 years for prosecutors to gather enough evidence to arrest the parents.

In December 2016, Jaylin Kema was pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Authorities do not think she knows where Peter Boy’s body is, but she’s still culpable since she knew her child died and her husband hid the body. As part of her plea deal, she agreed to testify against Peter Kema Sr. Officials indicated that the boy was abused by both parents, and died when he didn’t receive proper medical care. Jaylin Kema was apparently too scared to take him to the hospital, because she thought her husband would be arrested for abuse.

Peter Boy became the “poster child” in Hawaii for missing and exploited children. Flyers with his face on the front adorned stores, poles, and other public places for years.

[Feature Photo: Family Handout]