On January 6, 1993, 23-year-old Bonnie Haim disappeared from her Jacksonville, Florida home, never to be seen again by family or friends. Now Bonnie’s husband Michael Haim is standing trial for second-degree murder after Bonnie’s skull was unexpectedly discovered by the couple’s now-adult son, Aaron.
In 2014, Aaron was digging up an old pool in the backyard of the family home when he suddenly unearthed something unusual. “I picked up the coconut object and it ended up being the top portion of her skull,” reported television station WJXT. “I had it in my hand. …. Looked back in the hole and you could see teeth. At that point in time, you could see the top portion of her eye sockets.”
According to the Associted Press, DNA testing has confirmed that the remains found under the pool are those of Bonnie Haim. Ballistics analysis revealed that a spent shell casing found at the crime scene matches a rifle once owned by Michael Haim. After recovering Bonnie’s remains and other evidence from the yard, authorities were able to arrest and extradite Michael Haim from North Carolina in August 2015. Haim has pleaded not guilty.
Here’s what you need to know about Michael Haim and the disappearance of his wife Bonnie.
1. Michael Haim Claimed Bonnie had Left him
Bonnie and Michael Haim’s five-year-marriage once seemed picture-perfect, but after a few years, the marriage crumbled. Michael and Bonnie both worked for a construction supply company owned by Michael’s aunt, Eveann. She recounted that her nephew was verbally abusive to Bonnie and sometimes that abuse became physical. According to the television show Unsolved Mysteries, Eveann remembered when Bonnie said that Michael had become angry and slammed her hand in the car door.
Michael Haim told police that he and Bonnie had argued on the night of her disappearance and she probably left him and their three-year-old son Aaron for good. Eveann said that on the night of January 6, Bonnie was going to stop by her house to make plans for a friend’s baby shower but canceled. Eveann recalls that Bonnie was crying on the phone. When Eveann pressed her for details, Bonnie replied that she was upset about a “discussion” she’d been having with Michael and she’d talk to Eveann in the morning.
Later that night, Michael Haim called his mother, Carolyn, and asked her to babysit. Michael told her the couple had argued, Bonnie had driven off, and he wanted to search for her.
The following day, Michael and Bonnie missed work. On the same day, Bonnie’s purse had been tossed into the dumpster behind a Red Roof Inn hotel. Theft was ruled out since Bonnie’s cash, credit cards, and medication were all inside the purse.
Her car was found nearby at the Jacksonville Airport. Detective Robert Hinson became suspicious when he noticed that the driver’s seat was pushed back, indicating that someone much taller than 5’3″ Bonnie may have been driving. A fresh shoeprint was found and perfectly matched an unusual brand of athletic shoe that Michael wore.
Michael Haim never notified law enforcement of Bonnie’s disappearance, sticking to his story that she’d abandoned the marriage, and only spoke to authorities after her purse was recovered. “I would love her to come back home and work everything out,” Haim told the Jacksonville Times-Union. “Everyone has a few problems, but she never did this before.” During a television interview with News 4JAX Michael Haim told the reporter, “Basically, she was unhappy and just wanted to leave.”
Law enforcement doubted Michael Haims’ story but without a body or any concrete evidence, Bonnie Haim’s case eventually went cold.
2. Bonnie Was Secretly Trying to Escape Michael
Friends told authorities Bonnie was ready to leave Michael and had every intention of taking baby Aaron with her. She’d opened up a secret bank account in her name and had the statements mailed to her work address. Michael discovered the account and became angered and she closed the account.
But Michael’s discover didn’t alter her plans. Over time, she asked a friend to hold money she’d been saving, enrolled Aaron in a new preschool, and placed a deposit on an apartment. According to the Associated Press, Bonnie intended to leave while Michael was away on a trip.
3. In 1993, Three-Year-Old Aaron Told a Welfare Worker, “Daddy Hurt Mommy”
Michael had always been the primary suspect in the case but with little hard evidence, investigators looked at alternative methods for gaining information and wondered if three-and-a-half-year-old Aaron had witnessed anything. During the investigation, detectives asked a social worker to interview Aaron to see if she could glean any information from the toddler.
TV station WJXT is reporting that back in 1993, social worker Brenda Medders spoke with Aaron at length.”Daddy hurt mommy,” “Daddy shot mommy,” “Daddy placed mommy in a timeout,” and “Daddy could not wake her up,” were some of the chilling comments made by the little boy. “From what Aaron told us that day, my only conclusion was that there had been a domestic fight and that Michael Haim had killed his wife and had removed her, and that their three and a half-year-old son Aaron Haim had witnessed this,” Jacksonville Homicide Detective Robert Hinson said.
4. Bonnie’s Father Sided With Michael
In a strange twist of events, Bonnie’s family believed Michael Haim’s story while several of his own family members thought he was responsible for Bonnie’s disappearance. Michael Haim’s uncle, Bernie Haim, had always suspected his nephew and never thought Bonnie would leave Aaron behind, reports the website Law & Crime. “I found it very unusual she would leave Aaron, period,” he said.
Unsolved Mysteries said that Bonnie’s father, Robert Pasciuto stuck by his son-in-law’s account and discounted Aaron’s comments. “The credibility of a child is something that you have to judge in perspective. He’s said a couple of things that we know were not true. Mom’s car is in the lake. We know her car wasn’t there.” After Michael Haim’s arrest in 2015, Pasciuto had no comment to the Florida Times-Union.
5. Aaron Was Awarded Damages in a Civil Lawsuit
In 1999, Michael Haim lost custody of Aaron, who was adopted and changed his last name to Fraser. In 2005, Fraser won his family’s old home as part of a settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit against his biological father Michael Haim, which awarded Fraser and Bonnie’s estate a total of $26.3 million.
The legal documents show that Fraser was to be compensated for the “lost support and services of decedent,” and “lost parental companionship, instruction and guidance.”