HONOLULU (KHON2) — Ricky Roy Damerville prosecuted the Peter Boy Kema case, which gripped the state back in 1997. Justice was finally served 20 years later in 2017 when Peter Boy’s father and mother were convicted for his death. With new court documents released Friday, Nov. 12, in the Isabella Kalua case, Damerville said it feels all too familiar.
“When I was interviewed about the Kema case, I said it’s going to happen again, and it’s happened multiple times since then,” said Rick Roy Damerville, former Hawaii Island prosecutor.
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Court documents stated Isabella’s 12-year-old sister revealed gruesome details to detectives. Peter Boy’s brother and two sisters last saw him alive in June 1997. In that case, the Kema siblings also brought dark details to light.
“The fact that there’s siblings involved, the fact that the police had a little bit better jump start on this case because they got into it maybe a month after the child probably died whereas the Hawaii County Police Department was not even aware of the situation until at least six months after the child died,” Damerville explained.
According to court documents, detectives spoke with Isabella’s sister on Nov. 5 when she revealed these new details. Damerville said police likely faced challenges trying to interview the siblings.
“Anytime you’re trying to interview a minor, legally you’re supposed to notify the guardian, and if the guardians are the perpetrator that creates problems,” Damerville added.
When questioning children comes into play, child interviewers are brought in.
“If they’re under threats or if they’re under any admonitions not to cooperate, they may give you one set of stories first. The youngest child is likely to give you the truth first. You don’t want to interview the older ones too early and they give you one story and then they finally come over and give you the truth. That’s a difficulty you’ll have to deal with trial,” Damerville said.
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Now police are looking for more witnesses who may have interacted with Isabella and her sisters between 2019 and August 2021.