Where’s the justice for Peter Boy?

I didn’t want to let the year end without directing attention to a couple of excellent stories in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald (here and here) about the unresolved disappearance on the Big Island nearly 13 years ago of 6-year-old Peter Kema Jr.

Peter Boy’s father, Peter Kema Sr., told police that on a trip to O‘ahu he gave his son to a woman whose whereabouts he couldn’t provide and whose existence police couldn’t verify.

Police and prosecutors believe Peter Boy was murdered and that they know who did it, as do the the child’s grandparents and siblings, who provided evidence of tragic abuse during the boy’s short life.

State social workers verified the abuse and have been harshly criticized for leaving Peter Boy with his parents despite clear signs that the family was seriously dysfunctional.

The case was reclassified from a missing person to a homicide a decade ago, but Big Island law enforcers have stumbled over each other pointing fingers and no charges have been brought. At this point point, police say the case isn’t cold, but prosecutors say they don’t consider it an ongoing investigation.

It’s simply unacceptable to continue bumbling about while Peter Boy is denied justice and his siblings, who were long ago removed from their parents, have no closure. You don’t get to “lose” a child under highly suspicious circumstances and not have to account for it.

Big Island prosecutors are notoriously skittish about bringing charges on high-profile crimes unless they feel they have an airtight case. If they’re not doing anything further to develop this case, it’s time to present the best case they have and let a jury decide.

It should be remembered that in the Dana Ireland murder case in the 1990s, Big Island prosecutors similarly dragged their okole for years in bringing charges.

When the family and community finally prevailed on them to file with the “weak” evidence they had, they got convictions.

If Big Island prosecutors are going to continue to be complicit in burying Peter Boy, perhaps it’s time for the state attorney general or U.S. Attorney to see if there’s a way in for them to bring justice to this little boy with the big smile that belied the harsh hand he was dealt.

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5 Comments on “Where’s the justice for Peter Boy?”

  1. Doug Says:

    [It’s simply unacceptable to continue bumbling about while Peter Boy is denied justice and his siblings, who were long ago removed from their parents, have no closure. You don’t get to “lose” a child under highly suspicious circumstances and not have to account for it.]

    Actually, David, under our system of justice where the accused is innocent until proven guilty, a system where it, correctly, takes more than mere “suspicion” to gain a conviction, one may.

    The fact that some trials have gone forward with “weak” evidence and still resulted in convictions should not make that course of action into an accepted part of our justice system.

    Seriously, “closure?” What is that, if the evidence still leaves reasonable doubt? A trial, if it leads to a conviction on “weak” evidence, could provide some consolation for the siblings, perhaps—but at too high a societal cost, in my opinion.

    A trial with “weak” evidence that led to an acquittal, on the other hand, would provide a different sort of closure altogether.

  2. David Shapiro Says:

    Doug, the police don’t think the evidence is weak, nor do others involved in the case. Just the skittish local prosecutors, who don’t exactly have a record of high competence. That’s why I’d like to see more able legal minds take a look before we simply give up.

  3. el guapo Says:

    As I recall, prosecutors were able to get Shawn Schweitzer to plead guilty and testify against his brother and Frank Paulino in the murder of Dana Ireland. The police also had physical evidence in that case.
    In this case they have no body, no date, nothing except the knowledge that Peter Kema Sr is lying. The prosecutors need Jaylin Kema to really screw up, and then maybe they can get her to turn on her husband. Maybe.

  4. Michael Says:

    Jacqueline the ripper was never caught.
    Jack for short.
    Inspectors were looking for the wrong person.
    They should have been looking for a female.

  5. Michael Says:

    There is such thing as poetic justice. What goes around comes around. Justice not served will come back with a vengence. In due time.

    Double standard justice. One gets a lawyer that money can afford. You get what you pay for. Strong defense from a strong defense attorney. If the glove don’t fit acquit.


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