JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On Sunday, construction workers found what police believe could be human remains buried behind the Northside home of a 23-year-old woman who disappeared 21 years ago.
Bonnie Haim vanished in 1993, and her body was never found. Monday, a forensics team began excavation work in the backyard of the Dolphin Avenue home to determine if the remains are in fact human and those of Bonnie Haim. They were found Sunday by workers digging out an old pool in the backyard of the home.
Bonnie Haim's husband, Michael Haim, was considered a suspect in her disappearance but was never arrested. In 2004, he was found liable for his wife's wrongful death and ordered to pay $26.3 million to the couple's young son and Bonnie Haim's estate.
Joey Jenrette and his wife at the time rented the Dolphin Avenue home from Michael Haim for about two years in the late 1990s, after Bonnie Haim disappeared.
From the moment they moved in, Jenrette said his dog, Bandit, would constantly bark and scratch at certain areas around the pool and the storage shed.
"Every time Bandit would go out, he would circle the pool. He would just keep running laps around the pool. And in certain areas he would just stop and look at the ground, and he would bark. So that kind of right there, threw up some red flags to me," Jenrette said.
Jenrette, 36, said he never had any reservations about moving into the home, but after talking with several of his new neighbors on Dolphin Avenue, he admitted he grew suspicious of his landlord, Michael Haim.
He said he only met Haim twice and described him as "odd" and "shady."
"You could just kind of tell he was mean-spirited," Jenrette said. "You know, I would try to joke around with him and he could care less. He was even harsher on the phone because he didn't have to look me in the face then."
Jenrette said his rental agreement with Michael Haim had two unusual stipulations: He could not touch Haim's son's room or use it in any way. And he was not allowed to make any changes to the backyard, whether it was planting flowers or installing any backyard built-ins, like a barbecue.
According to property records, the home was built in 1959 and a pool was installed that same year.
The only changes or upgrades to the property happened in 1995, two years after Bonnie Haim vanished, when a $763 aluminum carport and a nearly $2,300 screened porch were installed.
When Jenrette learned about Sunday's discovery on the property, he said his stomach jumped up in his throat and he immediately thought back to all of the bizarre incidents with Bandit.
"I believe she was killed there and I believe she was buried there," Jenrette said.
It could be weeks before the remains are identified.
Michael Haim's former defense attorney was not available Monday for comment on the developments in the case.