As details of death emerge, Peter Boy's family turns to communit - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

As details of death emerge, Peter Boy's family turns to community for healing, support

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KONA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The family of "Peter Boy" Kema says now, more than ever, they need the community's support.  

And that's exactly what they've received.

"When we were eating lunch, a couple came out of nowhere," said Jimmy Acol, Peter Boy's grandfather. "They said, 'We pray for you every day.'"

The encounter happened Wednesday, a difficult day for the family.  

They had just returned from a remote location along the Puna Coast, an area where jagged rocks are pounded by rough waves. It's the place that Peter Kema, Peter Boy's father, says he disposed of his son's remains back in 1997, after the child died as a result of long-term child abuse.  

Acol told Hawaii News Now he said a prayer and lit a candle there. Wednesday was also the day Acol found out that his daughter, Jaylin Kema, had done more than anyone realized to help her husband cover up the crime.

He said the conversation with the couple in the restaurant -- and similar statements from strangers throughout the years -- always brighten his day.

"Please come up and shake my hand, or give me a hug," he said. "We need that."

The next day, Jaylin Kema was released from jail after serving just one year for manslaughter.

Her release was part of a plea deal that ultimately led to her husband also pleading guilty to manslaughter.

As part of his arrangement with prosecutors, Kema had to tell investigators exactly what happened to their son, and lead them to the spot where he disposed of the remains.  

He faces 20 years in prison when he's sentenced in June. Jaylin Kema is expected to face as many as 10 years of probation.

Peter Boy's siblings say they're also amazed that support from the community has not wavered over the past two decades -- that people didn't forget their brother.

Peter Boy's brother and sister, who were also abused, are not happy that their mother is already out of jail, or that their father isn't facing a life sentence. But they say they understand why police and prosecutors needed the plea deals in order to finally get answers.

The family says they are bothered by the public criticism of law enforcement and the plea deals negotiated for the boy's parents, who tortured and killed him before dumping his cremated remains in the ocean.

"If we didn't get that deal then they probably would have walked away and gotten nothing, so I mean, at least he'll get something," said Allan Acol, Peter Boy's brother.

"I'm not OK with that either, but I guess you need to make sacrifices to get the closure that my family and I need," added his sister, Lina.

Another of Peter Boy's sisters, Chauntelle Acol, now lives in Florida with her own 6-year old son.

Thanks to the internet, she says she sees the anger from the community that the parents are getting off easy, but she wants people to understand that the family -- collectively -- gave these deals their blessing. She says for years she wondered if her brother, who she referred to as "Pepe," was out there somewhere, looking for them.

"At least we get closure that Pepe is never going to come home again, but he's been in heaven," Acol said. "Now we can move forward, move forward and move on."

Jimmy Acol says the plea deals allowed him to live up to a promise to his late wife, Yolanda, that he wouldn't stop fighting for answers. The couple had custody of the children before Hawaii's Department of Child Protective Services took them away and returned them to their abusive parents. 

"I know Yolanda is happy now.  She's in a different place with him," an emotional Acol said. "And they're looking at me, and saying 'Papa, you did good.'"

The family says they will eventually do some kind of memorial in honor of Peter Boy -- after Peter Kema is sentenced. They haven't decided on where, but it will likely be in Kona and not the remote site in Puna. They say Kona is where their happy memories were made.

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