Man digs up own mother’s skull
When Aaron Fraser's mother Bonnie vanished when he was just three years old, he told investigators and relatives: "Daddy shot Mummy" but nobody believed him.
The youngster was adopted out months later and the case remained unsolved for 21 years until 2014, when he acquired the home once owned by his biological parents and started renovating.
Mr Fraser, now 29, was making repairs to the property that required him to remove a slab of concrete in the backyard and dig down to a leaking pipe when he hit something hard with his shovel.
The object was inside a bag and he reached inside to take it out.
"It looked like a coconut shell. I had it in my hand. We looked back in the hole and seen teeth," Mr Fraser told police.
"At that point in time, you could actually see the top of the eye socket. And it was like this part of the head, the top half of the head. I set it back in the hole."
Forensic tests confirmed the remains belonged to 23-year-old Bonnie Haim, who mysteriously vanished from Jacksonville, Florida in 1993. A spent shell casing which matched the calibre of a rifle once owned by his father Michael Haim was recovered close by.
The gruesome discovery led to Haim's arrest and, in 2015, he was finally charged with killing Bonnie. His murder trial opened on Monday.
"DADDY HURT MUMMY, DADDY SHOT MUMMY"
Now 52, Michael Haim was always considered a suspect in his wife's disappearance and presumed murder but police never had any physical evidence to charge him.
Haim never reported Bonnie missing but her colleagues called police when she failed to turn up to work.
Investigators found the young mother's car parked at Jacksonville International Airport and her handbag containing $1200, credit cards and medications inside a nearby bin.
Mr Haim told police the night before Bonnie vanished, the couple had argued about her plans to leave him and take their son with her. At 11pm the next night, she walked out and never returned.
He claimed he had called his mother Carol over to watch Aaron while he went out looking for his wife.
Mr Fraser, then just three years old, tried to tell police that, "Daddy hurt Mummy". A 2015 arrest affidavit shows the child also stated "Daddy shot Mummy", "Daddy put Mummy in time out" and, "My daddy could not wake her up" but they did not take him seriously.
Even his mother's relatives did not believe the child, who was adopted out shortly after and given the surname of his new parents, Fraser.
"The credibility of a child is something you have to judge in perspective," Bonnie's father Robert Pasciuto told cult TV series Unsolved Mysteries in 2010.
"He's said a couple of things that we know were not true (such as) 'Mum's car is in the lake'. "We know her car wasn't there. No one has asked Aaron: 'why did you say Mum's car is at the bottom of the lake?'"
But as he got older, Mr Fraser remained convinced he really had witnessed his mother's murder.
In 2014, he won a wrongful death suit against his biological father, which saw him awarded ownership of his childhood home.
AN 'ABUSIVE' HUSBAND
According Mr Haim's arrest affidavit, Bonnie had been desperate to leave the marriage and complained to friends about his "abusive" behaviour.
She started putting money into a secret bank account to fund her plan to move into an apartment with their son while Mr Haim was away on a work trip.
When her husband found out about the account and made her close it, Bonnie gave the dollars she saved to a trusted friend for safekeeping.
"Michael Haim was the last known individual to have contact with victim," the affidavit said, according to Jacksonville community outlet News 4 Jax.
"The suspect admits that he and the victim were fighting over marital issues and that she was planning to leave and take their child."
Mr Haim, who remains free on bail while on trial, refused to answer reporters' questions outside court after his trial opened on Monday.
The trial continues.