Mom Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter in Case of Son Missing Since 1997
Jaylin Kema will testify against her husband, who's accused of murder in the 19-year-old crime.
The disappearance of a Hawaii boy who became the face of missing and abused children is back in the news now that his mother has pleaded guilty to manslaughter 19 years on.
Jaylin Kema made the plea in a Hilo courtroom Thursday morning, KGMB reports. Her son, who they called Peter Boy, hasn't been seen since 1997.
Mrs. Kema's plea confirms the boy, whose name and face for years appeared on bumper stickers and posters with the words "Where's Peter Boy," is dead.
Kema and her husband, Peter Kema Sr., have long been suspects in their son's disappearance but prosecutors said they lacked sufficient evidence to prosecute.
Four years ago, Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth reopened the cold case. The couple was indicted by a grand jury earlier this year.
The Kemas initially pleaded not guilty to murder charges in April.
But following her guilty plea, Mrs. Kema will now testify against her husband in his upcoming murder trial.
According to prosecutors, Mrs. Kema agreed in court to facts the prosecution laid out about abuse the boy suffered and of her subsequent failure to get him medical treatment.
Prosecutors say Peter Boy had an arm injury that was left untreated to fester until there was a hole so deep a finger could fit inside it, Damerville said.
Investigators believe Peter Boy died from septic shock.
Exactly what become of his body has not been revealed. However, those facts could come to light in April when Jaylin Kema testifies against her husband.
At the time of his disappearance, Mr. Kema told authorities he took his son to Oahu to live with an aunt, however police say no records of such a trip were ever found, nor was the aunt.
Peter Kema has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.
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