A North Carolina man killed his wife in their previous Florida home over 20 years ago, then buried her in the backyard. He thought he’d gotten away with murder, until his son grew up and vowed to get justice for his mother.
A jury convicted Michael Haim, 52, of second-degree murder last month. On Tuesday, during sentencing in a Jacksonville courtroom, Circuit Judge Steven Whittington sentenced Haim to life in prison for killing his first wife, 23-year-old wife Bonnie Haim, in 1993. The defendant’s biological son, Aaron Fraser, helped implicate the man. Fraser was a 3-year-old boy and the apple of his mother’s eye when she vanished.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, when Fraser, now 29, was a young boy who went by the name Aaron Haim, he told a child social services investigator that his dad hurt his mom, according to The Florida Times-Union. That statement came within 48 hours after his mother, Bonnie disappeared from her Jacksonville home on January 7, 1993.
Police found Bonnie’s identification card, credit cards, and a large amount of cash thrown into the trash at a Red Roof Inn close to the Jacksonville airport, after a hotel employee found her purse and contacted the authorities.
Bonnie and Aaron all dressed up for Easter – 1992
Later on that same evening, investigators found Bonnie’s Toyota Camry parked in the long-term parking lot at the airport. The seat had been pushed back to accomodate a driver much taller than Bonnie, and her husband’s fresh shoeprint was found on the floorboard of the driver’s side.
Bonnie Haim was nowhere to be found.
Michael Haim told investigators his wife fled their home after they had an argument and he had not seen her since. Her friends and loved ones were skeptical of the man’s story from the beginning, stating that Bonnie would never leave without her son.
Although Haim was the primary suspect in the woman’s disappearance, police said at the time there wasn’t enough evidence to arrest him.
Following Bonnie’s death, Haim lived off of her life insurance money for years.
Fraser was taken from the home and later adopted by Jeanie and Ronnie Fraser. He took their last name and as the years passed by, the memories of his early childhood faded.
When Fraser got married, he asked his wife not to ask him questions about his early childhood. That all changed when Fraser and his adoptive mother filed and won a multi-million dollar wrongful death lawsuit against Haim in April 2005, according to News4Jax.
Fraser also won the deed to his early childhood home, a three-bedroom ranch-style home that sits on a quiet street in the northern part of Jacksonville, off of Dolphin Avenue.
In 2014, Fraser began renovating the home. He rented an excavator, and with the help of his brother-in-law, began demolishing the backyard swimming pool. A slab of concrete began cracking near the outdoor shower, close to the pool.
Curious, Fraser broke up the concrete slab up with a sledgehammer. He accidently broke a water pipe in the process, and while digging in the dirt for the broken pipe, he discovered a human skull in a plastic bag, buried around six inches under the concrete slab.
“At that point in time, you could actually see, like, the top of the eye socket. And it was like this part of the head, the top-half of the head. I set it back in the hole,” Aaron told News4Jax. “I had it in my hand. We looked back in the hole and seen teeth.”
Fraser faced his birth father again in court earlier this year for the first time in almost 26 years. Fraser testified against the man and told the court what he remembered about the day his mom vanished. He also testify about how he stumbled across his mother’s skull.
Haim pleaded not guilty and claimed he would have “never hurt his wife.” Haim eventually remarried. His current wife, Ann Wright, was present during his trial and testified that she had never been afraid of her husband.
Haim’s legs and wrists were bound by shackles as he was led from the courtroom after learning his fate Tuesday morning. He didn’t bother to look back at the people who sat in the packed Jacksonville courtroom, which included not only his own family, but Bonnie’s as well.
Bonnie’s family members hugged State Attorney Melissa Nelson after the sentencing, and rejoiced that justice was finally served.
Meanwhile, Fraser didn’t feel any kind of “great emotional feeling” after the sentencing, but he was relieved also that his mother’s death was finally solved.
“I always believed he killed her and that justice needed to happen, but even today, when the judge said he’s going to have a life sentence, it wasn’t this great emotional feeling that I had,” Fraser told First Coast News after Haim’s sentencing.
Fraser also touched on abuse and what children see when their parents fight. Although he was just three years old, Fraser still remembers what happened. It’s something that has stuck with him his entire life.
“The kids see everything that is going on. I am sure Michael didn’t think that I was seeing at 3 ½ years old, but I think it is apparent now that I saw everything that happened that night.”
[Feature Photo: Bonnie Haim & Aaron/Facebook]