Michael Haim was sentenced to life in prison for the 1993 killing of Bonnie Haim that was solved after their son found bones in the yard 21 years later
A Florida man has been sentenced to life in prison for the 1993 murder of his wife, whose bones were discovered 21 years later by their adult son digging in the backyard of the old family home.
Aaron Fraser was 3 years old when he told a caseworker, “Daddy shot mommy” and “My daddy could not wake her up,” according to 2015 affidavit in the arrest of Michael Haim, who was found guilty last month of killing his wife Bonnie, reports Jacksonville TV station WTLV.
But with no body or other leads in the 23-year-old woman’s disappearance in the midst of what prosecutors said was a contentious marriage (Bonnie had been threatening a separation), the case remained unsolved for more than two decades.
Fraser, who later was adopted by another family, eventually won a wrongful death lawsuit against Haim, his biological father. He was awarded ownership of his childhood home, which Haim had been renting out with specific instructions to not dig in the back yard, according to WJXT.
In 2014, during renovation at that property, Fraser lifted a concrete slab while trying to reach a water leak under an outdoor shower in the backyard, and found a skull and other human remains that led police to reopen their investigation.
Haim was charged after those remains were positively identified as Bonnie’s. His attorney, Janis Warren, vowed to appeal his conviction and sentencing, reports WJXT.
“For 26 years we searched for answers to our many questions,” Bonnie’s sister, Liz Peak, said in a statement shared with the media after Haim’s sentencing on Tuesday, reports The Florida Times-Union. “However, none of us wavered in our belief of what happened to Bonnie and who did it. Over the past 26 years many people have committed themselves to uncover the truth and finding justice for Bonnie.”
Her statement added: “We got justice, but we don’t have Bonnie.”
The sentencing also finally put to rest Fraser’s long-running fears.
“I don’t really feel a whole lot different,” he told WTLV. “There’s a sense of relief that we don’t have to continue to keep fighting the fight. I’m kind of glad that it’s over. … Just glad that there’s some kind of end to this process.”
He added: “As long as I can remember, I was scared that he was gonna come get me. I slept with a brick under my pillow until I was probably 12 years old. I still have it. …I always think I see people behind me. … Whether that’s all stuff that would have happened regardless of this, I don’t know.”
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He said he has no recall of his biological mother.
“I have no memory of her, but we recently got a Christmas of ’92 VHS tape turned into DVD and I watched it this past week, so I got to see her at Christmas. That was special,” he said.
A .22-caliber shell casing discovered where Bonnie Haim’s remains were buried was the same caliber as a gun owned by her husband, and the medical examiner who examined a pelvis bone found what appeared to be a gunshot mark “consistent with an injury that took place during life or right at death,” Duval County Assistant State Attorney Alan Mizrahi told jurors during the trial, reports WJXT.
According to WJAX, despite the medical examiner’s conclusion that her death was a homicide, no exact cause of death was ever determined.