Local Connection: Lessons from Peter Boy

Hawaii News Now proudly aired a special half-hour report last week by Chief Investigative Reporter Lynn Kawano on the tragic saga of Peter Boy Kema.

It was the story of a little boy neglected to death by his parents who were supposedly under supervision of the state's child protective services.

That was 20 years ago. And the state promised reforms that would prevent another tragedy.

But just as Peter Boy's story comes to a close after two decades, another child has died of deliberate neglect, also while on CPS's radar, and also on the Big Island.

The nine-year-old girl died of severe malnutrition last year. Her parents and grandmother now charged with murder for allegedly allowing her to starve to death.

Apparently, whatever lesson might have been learned from the Kema case, wasn't enough.

We are told that the girl who died last year was reported to CPS, but despite failing to improve, she was allowed to stay with the family. The family also pulled her out of public school for home-schooling -- isolating her further from those who might see evidence of neglect.

It is so disappointing that we are once again going to be investigating the death of an innocent child. Looking into another dysfunctional, loveless household, and asking whether the agencies we hope will protect Hawaii's keiki, have failed again.

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