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Aaron Fraser was renovating the house he had once shared with his biological parents when he stumbled upon what he thought was a coconut in a plastic bag.
But what Fraser had discovered wasn’t a carefully concealed produce item — it was the key that would unlock a decades-old mystery from his childhood.
Fraser’s mother, Bonnie Haim, had disappeared from their Florida home when he was just 3 years old. He’d tell police at the time that “Daddy hurt her” but without any further evidence — and even some of Bonnie Haim’s own family suggesting she may have left on her own in an episode of “Unsolved Mysteries” — the case would eventually grow cold.
More than 20 years later as Fraser, who was later adopted by another family, was using an excavator with his brother-in-law in December 2014 to demolish a swimming pool in the backyard of the home he had once lived in with his parents when he discovered the round object wrapped in heavy plastic, according to The Florida Times-Union.
After ripping open the bag, the pair quickly realized they had discovered a human skull and called police, who ultimately determined the skull belonged to Fraser’s mother.
His biological father, Michael Haim, 52—a prime suspect in the mysterious disappearance when the investigation began—was arrested at his home in North Carolina after the discovery and will face the allegations against him in a trial beginning this week, WJXT reports.
Fraser is scheduled to testify not only about the gruesome discovery he stumbled upon during the renovation but also what he remembers about the night his mother disappeared.
Michael and Bonnie Haim both worked at a construction supply company run by Michael’s Aunt Eveann and her husband.
Eveann would later tell “Unsolved Mysteries” that her nephew was often abusive to Bonnie Haim.
“One day they got into an argument…in the parking lot. And she came in crying and he had slammed her hand in the door and her nails were broke and she was very upset at that point,” she said on the show.
Those who knew Bonnie Haim claim that in the months leading up to her disappearance she had been planning to leave Michael Haim, even starting a secret bank account to help fund her escape. But Michael Haim allegedly discovered the bank account and forced her to shut it down, according to "Unsolved Mysteries."
But Bonnie Haim allegedly continued to save her money and had given a friend $1,250 to keep for her. She had also reportedly looked at two apartments, placed deposits on them, and began making plans to move out with her young son on Jan. 23, 1993, while her husband would be away on business, the Florida Times-Union reports.
On the night of January 6, 1993, she had reportedly been planning to go to Eveann’s house to help plan a friend’s baby shower, but Eveann told “Unsolved Mysteries” that Bonnie Haim called at 8:30 p.m. that night to cancel their plans.
“She was crying and she was upset. I asked why, she said that she and Mike had gotten into a discussion,” she claimed.
The next morning, neither would show up for work. Bonnie Haim’s purse was discovered that same day in a dumpster by a maintenance worker at a hotel about five miles from her house. Michael Haim allegedly told police his wife had left around 11 p.m. the night before after the pair had argued, according to the show.
He said he had called his mother, Carolyn Haim, to come over and watch his son so he could go and look for his wife, but he returned about 45 minutes later, Detective Robert Hinson of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department alleged on the show.
Investigators would later discover Bonnie Haim’s Toyota Camry parked in the long-term parking lot of the airport, but Bonnie Haim herself would never be seen again, according to the Florida-Times Union.
Her young son would tell a child protective services worker just 48 hours after his mother vanished, “Daddy hurt her,” pointing suspicion at Michael Haim.
“From what Aaron told us that day, my only conclusion was that there had been a domestic fight that Michael Haim had killed his wife and had removed her, and that their 3 and a half year old son Aaron Haim had witnessed this,” Hinson told “Unsolved Mysteries."
But while some who knew Bonnie Haim didn’t believe she would have ever left her young child behind, her father, Robert Pascuito, voiced doubts about the child’s story.
“The credibility of a child is something that you have to judge in perspective,” he said on “Unsolved Mysteries.” “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.”
Although for decades no charges were filed against Michael Haim, Fraser later sued his biological father for wrongful death and received a multimillion-dollar judgement, along with the deed to the family’s former home, reports the Florida-Times Union.
He used the home for a rental property until his fateful decision to make the renovations in 2014, where the remains were discovered concealed under a concrete slab near the outdoor shower on the property.
Authorities would later rule the death as a homicidal death by unknown means, although a spent .22 caliber shell was found in the grave. Police said Michael Haim once owned a .22-caliber rifle, according to WJXT.
Michael Haim has long maintained his innocence and pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, reports The Miami Herald.
Jury selection in his trial began earlier today.
“The potential jury is now reporting for duty,” said a Facebook page created in the Bonnie’s honor. “We just hope that a full and competent jury will be selected today.”
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