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Peter Kema Sr. Sentenced to 20 Years in Death of Son

July 24, 2017, 9:13 AM HST
* Updated July 24, 2:40 PM
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Peter Kema Sr. HPD photo.

Peter Kema Sr., who was charged with manslaughter in the death of his son, “Peter Boy” Kema, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison, ending, for some, the 20-year-saga of the 6-year-old boy who went missing in 1997.

In a Hilo Circuit Court this morning, Monday, July 24, 2017, Judge Greg Nakamura sentenced Kema Sr. to 20 years for one count of manslaughter, and five years for hindering prosecution; the sentences will run concurrently and he will also get credit for time already served.

Peter Kema Sr. and Jaylin Kema, the boy’s mother,  were indicted with Peter Boy’s “murder by omission” in April of 2016, which means the boy’s death resulted from his parent’s failure to seek medical attention or to provide for his basic needs.

Jaylin was sentenced to 10 years probation earlier this year for a manslaughter charge, in exchange for her cooperation and testimony against her husband. She received a 10-year probation sentence and a year in jail, which she has already served.

Jaylin M. Kema. HPD photo.

Kema Sr. plead guilty to manslaughter earlier this year as part of a plea deal he made with prosecutors, in which he was required to lead investigators to his son’s remains. If Peter Boy’s remains were found, he would receive a 20-year sentence, serving a minimum of six years and eight months before becoming eligible for parole.


In April 2017, Kema Sr. led officials to a remote area along the Puna coast, but Peter Boy’s remains were not found.


As part of the plea agreement, Kema Sr. took a polygraph examination earlier this month.

If the test determined Kema Sr. had lied, he would be subject to consecutive terms of imprisonment on the manslaughter and hindering prosecution convictions, for a possible 25-year prison sentence.

But the results of the test revealed that Kema Sr. was telling the truth when he admitted throwing the remains of his son into the ocean in 1997 after trying to cremate his body.


Authorities surmise that Peter Boy died from septic shock from an infected wound as a result of being abused by Kema Sr. The parents did not seek medical treatment for the boy’s injuries.

Jaylin and the Kema family attended the sentencing this morning—but did not comment.

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