Judge sends Peter Boy’s mom back to jail


HILO — The mother of Peter Kema Jr., aka “Peter Boy,” was ordered to report to Hawaii Community Correctional Center this morning for violating conditions of her HOPE probation.

Hilo Circuit Judge Henry Nakamoto on Monday ordered Jaylin Kema to serve 10 days in jail for the probation violation, the latest in a string of violations since Kema was ordered in June 2016 to serve 10 years probation after pleading guilty to manslaughter in her son’s death.


According to a court document filed by Kema’s probation officer, Kema was ordered to report for random drug testing Friday, Feb. 2, but failed to report that day.

On Monday, she was given a two-hour window to provide a urine sample, but was unable to produce one of adequate size for testing, the document states.

On Dec. 6, Kema was sent to jail for two days for reporting more than a half-hour late for a scheduled probation appointment. After being released from custody Dec. 8, she failed to immediately report to her probation officer, as ordered. That resulted in Nakamoto ordering her back to jail on Dec. 11.

On Oct. 24, after previous probation violations, Kema was placed in the HOPE probation program, which is more closely supervised and includes frequent and random drug testing.

Prior to her placement on HOPE probation, Kema tested positive for marijuana in July, had been late for a meeting with her probation officer, missed another meeting altogether and changed her phone number without informing authorities, court records state.

Kema, who has lost part of a leg to diabetes, admitted to marijuana use. Her lawyer said in October she didn’t have a medical marijuana certificate but used it on the advice of a doctor. Nakamoto told Kema even if she were to obtain medical marijuana certification, she would need permission from the court to legally use it.

Kema and her husband, Peter Kema Sr., were indicted in April 2016 for the 1997 death of Peter Boy, the chronically abused 6-year-old whose disappearance set off a statewide media firestorm.

Jaylin Kema received the lenient sentence after pleading guilty to manslaughter and agreeing to testify against Kema Sr., who later pleaded guilty to manslaughter and hindering prosecution and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Peter Boy’s body was never found, but the Kemas admitted the child died of septic shock after they failed to seek medical treatment to a severe injury to the boy’s arm.

Kema Sr. admitted to unsuccessfully trying to incinerate the boy’s body. He told authorities he later put the body in a cardboard box and threw it into the ocean near MacKenzie State Recreation Area in Puna.

Deputy Prosecutor Rick Damerville, who prosecuted the Kemas, said if Jaylin Kema continues to violate her probation she could eventually be sent to prison.

“In the HOPE program, they give you opportunities and they give you these sanctions, but at some point in time, they conclude it ain’t working,” Damerville said. “And when they get to that point, the judge can decide if your probation’s revoked and he can send you to prison. … But in the HOPE program, they give you more than a few violations before they send you to prison.


“ … We’re trying to treat her as we would anybody else.”

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.