'Peter Boy' case: Father of Hawaii boy missing since 1997 is sentenced for manslaughter

A man whose 6-year-old son vanished in 1997 was sentenced Monday in a Hawaii courtroom to 20 years in prison for manslaughter, fulfilling a deal with prosecutors that required him to reveal the location of his son's body.

The boy's father, Peter Kema Sr., also was sentenced to five years for hindering prosecution -- a sentence that will run concurrently, KHON reported. He must serve a minimum of six years and eight months. 

Prosecutors have said the child apparently was abused and died from septic shock after a festering arm sore went untreated. The boy was known as "Peter Boy" and "Pepe," the Hawaii Herald-Tribune reported. 

Kema led police and prosecutors to a remote coastal area of the Big Island in April, but water and time kept investigators from finding any remains, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rick Damerville said.

Kema later passed a polygraph test, which said he was telling the truth about where he disposed of the remains and allowed his sentencing to move forward. 

The boy's mother, Jaylin Kema, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2016. In June of this year, she was sentenced to 10 years' probation for manslaughter and one year in jail, which she'd already served, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported. She was released from jail in April. 


Peter Kema told authorities that he took his son from the Big Island to Oahu and gave him to someone named "Aunty Rose Makuakane" in an informal adoption. Police were unable to find a woman as described by Kema or airline records that indicated he had flown there.

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, according to prosecutors. The girl later saw her brother in a box, prosecutors said.

Peter Kema Sr. declined to speak at the sentencing, which Jaylin Kema and Peter Boy's family reportedly attended. 

The child's grandfather James Acol Sr. told the Tribune-Herald, "I thought he’d at least turn to us and look at us and apologize, say something. If you’re human, say something. He didn’t say anything. No remorse, nothing."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.