When a young mother disappears, her 3 year old son may be the only witness.
On Christmas morning, 1992, in Jacksonville, Florida, Bonnie Haim, a young wife and mother, opened presents with her son. Bonnie’s husband, Michael, captured the moment forever on video. Less than two weeks later, Bonnie Haim inexplicably vanished.
Police began to suspect that Bonnie was dead—a victim of foul play. Their suspicions soon focused on Michael Haim. Among the most damning evidence was the extraordinary testimony of a surprising witness—Michael and Bonnie’s three-year-old son, Aaron. This case has fueled a bitter, but unusual family dispute. Bonnie’s own parents say she willfully abandoned Michael. But some of Michael’s relatives are equally convinced that he murdered Bonnie.
Michael worked as a manager in the construction supply company owned by his Aunt Eveann and her husband. Bonnie did their accounts. Eveann claimed that Michael was often abusive to Bonnie at the office and at least once, became physical:
Bonnie eventually decided to leave her husband, and in preparation, opened a bank account in her own name. To keep her plans secret, Bonnie had the bank statements mailed to her at work. According to Eveann, Michael was enraged when he found out. Bonnie closed the account. But according to those closest to her, Bonnie never wavered in her plan to divorce Michael. She gave money to a friend for safekeeping, put down a deposit on her own apartment, and enrolled her son in a new preschool.
But all that changed on the night of January 6, 1993. That evening, Bonnie came home from work at around 7:30 PM. She intended to drop by Eveann’s later, to finalize plans for a friend’s baby shower. According to Eveann, Bonnie called her at 8:30:
The next morning, neither Bonnie nor Michael showed up at work. However, hopes for Bonnie’s safe return began to dim that same morning. Her purse turned up roughly five miles from home, buried in a motel dumpster near the Jacksonville airport. According to Detective Robert Hinson of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department, robbery was not a motive due to the amount of money and credit cards left in the purse:
Michael insisted from the start that he was not involved in his wife’s disappearance. He said that on the night of January 6th, Bonnie drove off alone after an argument at around 11 PM. According to Detective Hinson, Michael stated that he called his mother, Carolyn Haim, and asked her to watch Aaron while he looked for Bonnie:
Detective Hinson was less than convinced by Haim’s account. His instincts led him back to the Jacksonville Airport, near the motel. Sure enough, it was there that Detective Hinson found Bonnie’s car, abandoned in a parking lot:
Police concluded that the print had been made by the last person to drive the car. The distinctive tread pattern was traced to a rare style of athletic shoe. The exact pair was owned by none other than Michael Haim. However, Bonnie’s father Robert Pasciuto did not feel the shoe print had any significance:
Next, in a bold attempt to uncover the truth, Detective Hinson arranged for a child psychologist to interview Bonnie and Michael’s son:
However, Bonnie’s father Robert was unconvinced by his grandson’s testimony:
The families continue to be split about what, if anything, Michael knows about his wife’s disappearance.
A piece of a skull was found while excavating the former home of Bonnie Haim. Michael Haim, Bonnie’s husband, went on trial in April 0f 2019 and the jury took less than ninety minutes to find him guilty of her murder. On May 21, 2019, Michael Haim was sentenced to life in prison.