JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It was January 1993 when I sat down with Michael Haim in the living room of his Northside home while an active search was underway for his wife, Bonnie. Never could I have imagined that her body could be right outside, buried by the pool.
I was reporting on the night shift for the 11 p.m. Eyewitness News broadcast. When I found out we could talk to a missing mother's husband on camera, I remember thinking it would make for a good story.
Stepping into their home, I recall looking around at photographs of their little boy, Aaron, other pictures of the family and precious photos of a loving, 23-year-old mother with her son.
Did he kill her? I remember wrestling with the thought in my mind. Had he ever been violent with her? How can I ask?
Michael Haim seemed quiet and somehow not urgent in his message asking for the community's help finding Bonnie. He averted his eyes while telling me about her, saying she got upset and left the house and never returned. He claimed he didn't know where she was.
I remember being surprised when he called Aaron out to join us, placing the 3½-year-old boy on his lap, so he'd be on camera, and asking his tow-headed son, "Where's Mommy? Where's Mommy?"
Little Aaron gazing up at his daddy, and answered, "She's not here."
FROM WJXT ARCHIVES: Mary Baer's report on search for Bonnie Haim
Something just wasn't right. I left feeling certain that the young woman could not have left her beautiful boy. As a young mother myself, it just didn't seem possible.
We now know that boy would never see his biological mother again. He was adopted and raised by another family, won that Northside home in a wrongful death lawsuit against Michael Haim, and as an adult, would dig up Bonnie Haim's remains in the backyard while trying to rehab the house for sale.
Giving a victim-impact statement Friday afternoon minutes after Michael Haim was found guilty of second-degree murder, Aaron Frazer showed emotion that he had not when testifying during the trial.
"I think anyone can imagine, even if it's not a loved one, finding a skull, picking it up, just what that would do to somebody. Not to mention, it's your mother," Fraser said.
Asked if that was the only physical interaction he remembered with his biological mother, the almost 30-year-old answered, "Yes."
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