JACKSONVILLE—A Florida man was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday, May 21, for his wife’s murder, which was witnessed by their then-toddler son who found his mother’s buried body 21 years later.
Michael Haim, 52, was convicted last month of second-degree murder, the Florida Times-Union reported.
Bonnie Haim was 23 when she disappeared in January 1993 and would have turned 50 on Monday.
“For 26 years we searched for answers to our many questions,” Bonnie Haim’s sister, Liz Peak said. ”… However, none of us wavered in our belief of what happened to Bonnie and who did it.” https://t.co/FemAE6y31V
— Florida Times-Union (@jaxdotcom) May 22, 2019
Police found the woman’s purse, along with IDs, credit cards and cash, inside a hotel trash bin near the Jacksonville airport, and her car was found in the airport parking lot. Michael Haim told investigators she had left home the previous night following an argument.
The couple’s 3-year-old son Aaron told police his father had shot the woman, but no body was found. Michael Haim was not charged and lived off his dead wife’s life insurance policy for years.
Aaron Fraser, who was later adopted and took his new family’s name, eventually won a wrongful death lawsuit against his biological father and got his home.
Sentencing guidelines for second-degree murder in 1993 suggested seven to 22 years in prison. Bonnie Haim’s family had asked the judge to consider giving Michael Haim at least 26 years for the time she has been gone while he remained free.
‘Skeletal Remains Found’
In 2014, having won his childhood home as part of a wrongful death lawsuit against his father, Fraser discovered his mother’s skeletal remains while making repairs to the property, according to detectives with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
A water leak required Fraser to remove a concrete slab underneath which he found the badly composed remains. DNA tests confirmed the remains were those of Bonnie and a medical examiner concluded she died from a homicide “by unspecified means,” according to the affidavit.
“Fraser says he is considering writing a letter to his father—asking him to tell the truth of what happened to his mother, Bonnie in 1993,” FCN2go posted on Twitter.
Aaron Fraser, Michael Haim’s son, says he is considering writing a letter to his father – asking him to tell the truth of what happened to his mother, Bonnie in 1993.
More on his thoughts from the day coming up in our evening newscasts on @FCN2go #MichaelHaim #BonnieHaim pic.twitter.com/Q1qzmPQWpZ
— Katie Jeffries (@Katie_Jeffries) May 21, 2019
A spent shell casing found where Bonnie was buried was the same type of caliber as a rifle that Haim owned, the affidavit said.
According to the affidavit, Haim was abusive to his wife and she had made plans to move into an apartment with their son while he was away on a trip. She had secretly opened a bank account and when Haim found out about it and made her close it, she started giving money to a trusted friend to hold for her.
Haim, who had moved to North Carolina by the time of his arrest in 2015, claimed his wife left their home without their son late one night in January 1993 after they had an argument about their marital problems. Haim also said he went searching for his wife, although he didn’t notify law enforcement about her disappearance. Law enforcement wasn’t told about the disappearance until a maintenance worker found her purse in a hotel dumpster and called police.
“Michael Haim was the last known individual to have contact with victim,” the arrest affidavit said. “The suspect admits that he and the victim were fighting over marital issues and that she was planning to leave and take their child.”