In an interview with child protection workers, the young son of the couple repeatedly said that his father had somehow hurt his mother, according to court documents. "My father could not wake her up," he said at the time.
But with Ms. Haim still missing, the case is not resolved and Mr. Fraser grew up without having any memory of what had happened.
Gail S. Goodman, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Davis, who studies the memory of eyewitnesses in children, said that an infantile amnesia can make sure that early, even traumatic experiences , be lost from memory. But she added that young children can still serve as witnesses and must be taken seriously.
"At age 3 and a half, he probably did not understand death, but a child can, at this age, report what he saw in his own words," Dr. Goodman wrote in a statement. email.
Although the memory is nuanced and may depend on circumstances, she said, "The more traumatic the event, the better the child's memory, and children are also less likely to suggest false suggestions about it."
In the mid-2000s, a civilian court judge, applying a lower standard of proof than in criminal cases, declared Haim responsible for the death of his wife and granted their son a judgment of several years. millions of dollars.
In 2014, Mr. Fraser was 20 years old and had obtained title to his rented childhood home. He was doing work to remove the pool when he accidentally unearthed human remains.