A beautiful young woman vanishes. For months, her family searches in vain. They suspect her boyfriend, a secretive and arrogant older man who is active in public life. But his friends, including many famous members of the political and cultural elite, refuse to believe that their charismatic chum could be a suspect in any criminal wrongdoing. Frustrated with the police's lack of progress, the missing woman's family hires its own private investigators.
And waits and waits and waits for the nightmare to end.
Chandra Levy and Gary Condit? No, this is the tragic story of Holly Maddux and Ira Einhorn. New developments in the two-decade-old case barely registered a blip on the national media radar screen last week. That's a crying shame. Holly Maddux deserves to be more than an afterthought. What makes this matter especially outrageous -- and deadly instructive -- is how Ira Einhorn remained a darling of the Left and a fugitive from justice for so long after Maddux was found.
The facts are sickeningly familiar to Philly residents, but not to the rest of the nation. In the '70s, Einhorn made a name for himself as a radical environmentalist and "counter-cultural" peacenik. He grew a ratty beard, stopped bathing, dubbed himself a "planetary enzyme," spouted Marxism, and hogged the spotlight during the nation's first Earth Day. Poets, scientists, hippies, New Agers, billionaire benefactors, and young women caught up in the haze of free love and free-flowing drugs all flocked to Einhorn.
One of those women, former Texas cheerleader and artist Holly Maddux, lived with Einhorn in the City of Brotherly Love. In the fall of 1977, she disappeared. Einhorn said she walked out and never came back. Few dared challenge the Flower Power guru who hobnobbed with the rich and powerful, lectured at Harvard, and traveled the world.
It took a year before cops opened a missing persons file on Maddux. Her family pressured law enforcement officials to investigate Einhorn. His neighbors complained of a foul stench and brown ooze seeping from his residence. Eighteen months after she went missing, detectives discovered her body stuffed and mummified inside a black steamer trunk hidden in Einhorn's closet.
Maddux's skull had multiple fractures, and she had shrunk to less than 40 pounds. Experts say she was alive when she was forced into the trunk. Author Steven Levy wrote that when horrified cops informed Einhorn, who was waiting in his kitchen during the search, that the corpse looked like Maddux's body, Einhorn coolly replied: "You found what you found."
The peaceniks rushed to Einhorn's side and insisted he was incapable of violence -- let alone the monstrous evil that befell Maddux. A parade of liberal aristocrats lavished praise on the accused murderer at his bail hearing. And Einhorn had the best legal representative in town -- former district attorney and soon-to-be-U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, who won an obscenely reduced bail for Einhorn of $40,000. Wealthy socialite Barbara Bronfman of the Seagram's liquor empire put up the measly $4,000 bond needed to spring Einhorn out of jail in 1981 before trial.
Einhorn fled. While Maddux's family grieved, he traipsed around Europe for 20 years (partly subsidized by Bronfman). Meanwhile, two former girlfriends came forward and testified that Einhorn had nearly killed them in separate, savage attacks. A Pennsylvania jury convicted Einhorn in absentia for Maddux's murder in 1993.
Fighting extradition from France, Einhorn proclaimed innocence. He blamed Maddux's death on the CIA; attracted a renewed cult following; picked up a Swedish wife (who bears an eerie resemblance to Maddux); dined on brie and savored Bordeaux wines; granted sycophantic media interviews; and won the sympathy and protection of "human rights" activists across Europe. One French supporter of Einhorn interviewed by the Philadelphia Daily News said of Maddux's murder: "Maybe she deserved it."
And the French call us barbarians.
Last week, U.S. authorities finally brought Einhorn home to face a new trial (demanded by France as a condition of extraditing him). Einhorn is not the only one who should be damned. The silence of those who aided this killer in p.c. clothing is deafening. Their peace signs are permanently stained with blood.