Peter Kema Sr. avoided the possibility of life in prison by pleading guilty to manslaughter in April. Under a plea deal, he was required to lead investigators to his son’s remains.
He led them to a remote area along the Puna coast, just south of MacKenzie State Park off Highway 137. But despite exhaustive attempts by multiple agencies, there was no sign of Peter Boy’s remains.
Shortly after directing police to the spot, Kema Sr. took a lie detector test to prove that he was telling the truth: That he threw the remains of his 6-year-old son into the ocean in 1997 after he tried to cremate his body.
Big Island Prosecutor Mitch Roth decided to revisit the case in 2014, which ultimately led to the guilty pleas.
He said he wants new laws in place to better protect children.
Roth said the state needs to respond quicker when suspected abuse is reported. He and his team are working on drafting legislation.
Roth also wants change to Department of Education's policies about homeschooling. Roth said abusive parents often pull their children out of school as a way to avoid the child seeking help or educators reporting suspicions to authorities.
Kema was pulled out of public school and so were two other victims in high-profile Hawaii child abuse cases.