Mom of ‘Peter Boy’ attempted CPR
The boy's sister says she saw the act prior to his disappearance
HILO » A newly released statement by the sister of the missing child Peter "Peter Boy" Kema Jr. says the boy's mother tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on him sometime before he disappeared.
In a handwritten statement, sister Devalynn Kema said she woke up from a nap because her mother, Jaylin Kema, was screaming.
"I opened my eyes and my dad (Peter Sr.) was pushing everything in his path of getting into his bedroom. Following Peter was Jaylin with Peter Boy in her hands (arms). I followed behind my mom asking why she was screaming. She didn't answer," wrote Devalynn, who was 4 at the time of the incident she recounts.
"I could see Jaylin putting her lips to Peter Boy's lips," she wrote.
She asked what was wrong, but her mother told her to leave and take a nap.
Handwritten statements from Devalynn, now 14; Peter Boy's half-brother Alan Acol, 20; and his half-sister Chauntelle Acol, 18, released this week by the state Department of Human Services, describe a hellish existence during their early years in the Big Island home of Peter Kema Sr., father of the two younger children, and Jaylin Kema, mother of all four children.
Peter Boy was last seen alive in June 1997. His mother didn't report him missing until January 1998.
His father told police that he and the boy flew to Honolulu the prior summer and the child was left in the custody of "Auntie Rose Makuakane." Police could find no evidence that such a person ever existed.
In 2005, Lillian Koller, head of the state Department of Human Services, released 2,000 pages of documents on the family, mostly detailing abuse of Peter Boy and the other children by Peter Sr. from the time Peter Boy was 1 year old.
Koller said she asked the siblings to write their memories in January as a means of confirming their current memories of their early childhood.
"I was still hoping there could be justice for Peter Boy Kema Jr.," Koller said. "I think it's pretty obvious this child is not just missing but has perished."
The names of all of the children are blocked out in the statements, but Devalynn can be identified because she says she is the youngest.
On the day Devalynn saw CPR given to Peter Boy, she later asked her father where Peter Boy was. Peter Sr. said the boy had gone to Honolulu, but the girl didn't believe him. She looked in her parents' closet where she saw a box.
"I saw Peter Boy in the box crouched down with no clothes on. I went to ask Peter (Sr.) why was Peter Boy sleeping in a box. I didn't get an answer."
The sighting in the box was disclosed in previously released documents. But the value of the statement as evidence has been questioned because Devalynn told a psychologist at age 5 that Peter Boy was later alive in Honolulu.
University of Hawaii at Hilo criminal justice professor Rick Castberg said he doubts Devalynn's testimony would be admitted in court.
"It's risky to put a child on the witness stand," he said.
The only way charges will be filed in the case are if Peter Boy's remains are found or if Jaylin Kema agrees to testify against Peter Sr., from whom she is divorced, Castberg said.
Although the children's statements are mostly about injuries to Peter Boy, the mother also was beaten sometimes.
"My mother was in the kitchen. It looked like Peter (Sr.) had beaten her a little bit," one statement said.
Sometimes the mother joined the abuse. "Mom and Peter (Sr.) would wrap Peter Boy's arm so tight, it would hurt," a statement said.
Mostly, the children suffered. "I remember when Peter (Sr.) picked me up by my neck and held me against the wall and then punched me twice and then kicked me and I fell down the stairs," one child said.
Another time, Peter Sr. threw the same child out window.