In one of Hawaii’s most notorious missing person cases, Peter “Peter Boy” Kema Jr. vanished on September 11, 1997, on Hawaii Island at the age of 6, but his mother, Jaylin Kema, didn’t report him missing until January 1998.
Under a proposal pending in the Senate, Jaylin and Peter Boy’s father, Peter Kema Sr., could be charged with felony for not reporting the death or disappearance of their child within 48 hours.
Peter Kema Sr. told police he took his son during the summer of 1997 to Aunty Rose Makuakane, a family friend he claimed lived on Oahu. Police could not confirm the woman existed or that the father was telling the truth.
In 2005, the state released 2,000 documents on his case that revealed the terrifying life this child endured, because of an abusive father. (See highlights in the Honolulu Advertiser archives)
According to the documents, Peter Boy’s sister disclosed to a psychologist about a year after her brother went missing that she saw his lifeless body in the trunk of her father’s car and in a container in a closet in their home. The sister claimed the parents took the container to Honolulu.
The sister also disclosed that her father severely beat Peter Boy, stripped him naked, threw him into a trash bin and forced fed him feces. Her mother was also intimidated and beaten, the sister said.
Peter Boy was placed into a temporary foster home in August 1991 after being admitted to the hospital with injuries that suggested child abuse, records show. The documents also revealed Child Protective Services received other allegations of abuse and neglect involving the Kema kids.
Peter Boy would be 22 years old today.
There are dozens of children in Hawaii who go missing every year. The Department of Human Services web site features 71 missing children, including Peter Boy.
On Thursday, the state Senate will hear Senate Bill 2160, named Caylee’s Law after Caylee Anthony, which would make it a felony if a parent or guardian does not report the death or disappearance for more than 48 hours of a child.
The bill was introduced in several other states after the Casey Anthony trial, which revealed Anthony did not report the disappearance of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee Marie Anthony for 31 days.
The Hawaii bill, introduced by Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom with support from Senators Suzanne Chun Oakland, William Kahele, Malama Solomon and Glenn Wakai, also establishes penalties for caregivers who fail to report the death or disappearance of a child to law enforcement or who provide false information to law enforcement authorities.