The 1997 disappearance of 6-year-old Peter “Peter Boy” Kema, Jr., is one of Hawaii’s most notorious, unsolved crimes. Peter Boy disappeared on the Big Island 17 years ago. The case was classified as a homicide in 2000 and has remained open since.
Now, police claim they have uncovered promising, though unspecified, new evidence.
“The police are actively investigating and we’re still following leads,” Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. “There is some new information, but I cannot tell you what that stuff is.”
Peter Boy’s parents, Peter Kema Sr. and Jaylin Kema, are the only suspects in the case and were known to be physically abusive. His parents told police that the last time saw their son was when they dropped Peter Boy off on Oahu in August 1997 with a family friend, “Auntie Rose Makuakane.” Police have yet to find evidence of her existence.
Documents released in 2005 detailed the abuse that Peter Boy and his siblings were subjected to, including fractured ribs on Peter Boy when he was less than four months old. According to his older brother, Peter Boy received the brunt of the abuse. “I couldn’t tell you why. It was just the way it was,” he told Hawaii News Now.
Peter Boy’s younger sister said that their parents would often put Peter Boy in the trunk of the family car when they went out in public. “Our dad said he was being punished for doing something bad,” she said, “We’d go to the beach, and he’d be in the trunk; we’d go to the store, and he’d be in the trunk.”
Peter Boy disappeared in 1997. A year later, during a psychological evaluation, one of Peter Boy’s sisters said that she had seen the boy’s lifeless body in a box in her parents’ closet.
The state removed the children from the home after Peter Boy’s disappearance. Peter Boy’s step-siblings went to live with their father, William Collier, while his sister went to live with grandparents. Peter Boy’s grandfather, James Acol, still has hope that his grandson may be alive. “Until proven otherwise, he’s around,” Acol said. “Unless somebody can show me evidence where he’s truly dead.”