Court report: State never should have returned 'Peter Boy' to his parents

Updated: Apr. 13, 2017 at 3:28 PM HST
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HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - A court-appointed expert says the state was negligent in protecting "Peter Boy" Kema, and is liable for his death and the suffering of his siblings if a lawsuit were to be filed.

The sharply-worded report, which was filed Thursday in Hilo Family Court, said Peter Boy and his siblings were removed several times from their parents' home, but were returned — despite confirmed abuse and their own fear of more harm.

"There was overwhelming evidence that Peter Kema, Sr. and Jaylin Kema were unfit, violent and abusive parents, yet family reunification continued to be the goal of the state," said the report, written by special master Stephen Lane.

Earlier this month, Peter Kema pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Peter Boy's 1997 death, a stunning development in what had been one of Hawaii's most well-known unsolved murder cases.

The report chronicles the years of abuse Peter Boy suffered in his parents' home, and pointed to the failures at the state Department of Human Services.

Lane said state child protective services workers violated the law by not responding to reports Peter Boy was injured two months before he disappeared. By the time officials visited the home, evidence indicated Peter Boy had already died.

"It is probable that had CPS complied with their own standards and protocols and acted ... as the law required," the report concludes, "Peter Boy would alive today."

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