Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Real Name: Ira Samuel Einhorn
Aliases: Eugene Mallon, Ben Moore, "The Unicorn"
Wanted For: Murder
Missing Since: January 1981

Holly Maddux


Details: Ira Einhorn was considered a "counterculture hero." He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 15, 1940, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1961 with a major in English. During the 1960s in Philadelphia, he was a symbol of opposition to the war in Vietnam. In 1970, he reportedly organized Earth Day, a pro-ecology festival still celebrated every year. He "palled around" with peace movement superstars like Abbie Hoffman. Fortune 500 corporations also found him irresistible, lining up to hire him for advice on trends of the future. In 1971, he even ran for mayor of Philadelphia.
Einhorn was also a lecturer who once held a Kennedy Fellowship at Harvard University. He later became a New Age futurist and paranormal expert, often enchanting his audiences with lectures about psychic weapons, psychedelic drugs, and the environment. He was well-connected, with a worldwide network of scientists, corporate sponsors, and wealthy benefactors.
There was, however, a side of Einhorn the crowds and news cameras never saw. In private, he was jealous, abusive, self-centered, a serial womanizer, the eye of an emotional hurricane. And in 1979, he became the prime suspect in the disappearance of his thirty-year-old girlfriend, Helen "Holly" Maddux. Their five-year romance was stormy and marred by countless breakups.
In the beginning, it had been different. Einhorn’s charm and personality seduced Holly, just as it had everyone else. She was a product of small-town Tyler, Texas, a one-time high school cheerleader with a love for art and nature. She was described as bright, creative, and beautiful, voted "most likely to succeed" by her high school class. After graduating from there in 1965, she attended Bryn Mawr College, a liberal arts school for women near Philadelphia. After graduating from there in 1971, she decided to stay in Philadelphia because she loved the area. She dreamed of starting a bohemian-style dressmaking shop there.
Holly wandered into Einhorn's heady world in October 1972 when they met at his favorite hangout, La Terrasse restaurant. He often "held court" there but never picked up the tab. According to author Steven Levy, when the couple met, she was "blown away" and overwhelmed by the considerable force of his personality. At the time, she was not in a solid stage in her life. As a result, she was susceptible to "a big come-on or a big con." She told her friend Toni Ferrell that she was fascinated with the way Einhorn's mind worked and the ideas he would throw out. Within two weeks of meeting, they were living together in his Powelton Village apartment.
Einhorn seemed to do little for himself; he depended largely on the generosity of friends, family, and girlfriends (including Holly) for his daily needs. She seemed to disagree with some of his "radical" ideas. In one instance, the two were talking about a rally they were going to in Washington, D.C. Einhorn wanted himself and the others to try and get arrested. Holly told him that they should not try to do that. He dismissed her, saying that if everyone got arrested, it would be "like a big party." According to assistant district attorney Joel Rosen, Holly was a very creative person; he believes that she was just as smart, creative, and talented as Einhorn. However, because Einhorn was so loud about everything that he did, she was overshadowed by him.
According to Levy, Einhorn was the "ultimate nightmare" for the Maddux family. He was a long-haired, unclean, hippie type. The Maddux family, meanwhile, was extremely conservative. According to Holly’s sister, Elisabeth Hall, when Holly and Einhorn spent time in the Maddux home, he was rude and "went out of his way to be obnoxious." While the family said grace, he scratched and clawed at his poison ivy blisters. He was also overbearing and dominating to Holly, often putting her down, ordering her around, and treating her like his "personal maiden." Strangely, she even sat at his feet "like a pet." Elisabeth says that he was a "slob" and did not have good personal hygiene; it was "not pleasant" to be around him. She believes that the reason he came with Holly to visit was to try and create a rift between Holly and their father.
Holly’s friend, Andrea Boyce, says that Einhorn impressed her as a man who thought a lot of himself. She did not understand why he felt that way about himself; she did not find him particularly attractive. She and Holly worked together in a neighborhood co-op. One morning, while they were taking a break from getting the store stocked, Holly turned her head in such a way that Andrea noticed a mark on her neck. Andrea asked her about the mark; she said that she just bumped into something. However, Andrea told her that they looked like hand marks. Andrea asked her if someone was hurting her. She responded, "Ira did this." Other friends and relatives also reported seeing her with black eyes and bruises on her neck and arms.
There were other troubles in their relationship. Sometimes, when they would go to parties together, Einhorn would leave with another woman. Holly told Toni that Einhorn would sometimes make her have sex with other people while he watched. He apparently convinced her she had to do this in order to "realize her full potential."
According to Levy, as the relationship progressed, Holly gathered more self-esteem. She found she could do more things for herself. She did not like that Einhorn was abusive towards her and did not want that to continue. Slowly, she began weaning herself from him. By July 1977, she had had enough. Elisabeth came to visit them in London, England, where they had been traveling on Holly's savings. According to Elisabeth, she seemed happy and upbeat. She said she was tired of Ira and was going to leave him and get her own place when they returned home.
When Holly returned to Philadelphia in August, she did just that; she walked out on Einhorn without even bothering to pack her belongings. She wound up at a beach resort on Fire Island near New York City, where she began a romance with Saul Lapidus. He remembers her as being "wonderful, curious, and very bright." For the weeks they were together, they were practically inseparable. He hoped that it would be the start of something "big." He says that, although it had its obstacles, it was a wonderful relationship.
Einhorn began calling Holly repeatedly. On September 9, 1977, he called her once again. According to her, he was "going nuts" and was "off the wall." He threatened to throw all of her clothing and belongings out onto the street unless she came down to Philadelphia immediately to come see him. He apparently could not handle the fact that she was going out with another man. She agreed to go back, but only to get her belongings and break things off with him for good. Saul says that he did not have a bad feeling when she left for Philadelphia. However, he had a very bad feeling when she did not return as promised. He says it was totally unlike her to say something and not follow through with it.
When Holly did not return as planned, Saul and some of her other friends reported her absence to authorities. Soon afterwards, Philadelphia detectives interviewed Einhorn. He confirmed that she came back to their apartment to pick up her belongings. He claimed that they were getting along well. He also claimed that one day, while he was in the shower, she told him she was going to the neighborhood co-op to buy some tofu and sprouts; he never saw her again. He said she just "walked off into the sunset."
At the time, police had no reason to suspect foul play. However, Holly's disappearance did not make sense to her family; she had never gone more than a few weeks without contacting them. They believed they were too close of a family for her to just turn her back and disappear. They also noted that most of her inheritance was left behind in her bank account. They hired two former FBI agents, Robert Stevens and J.R. Pearce, to investigate. Their ambitious report filled hundreds of pages, contained dozens of interviews, and detailed the events surrounding Holly’s disappearance.
Initially, their investigation was hampered by Einhorn's influence and reputation; as a result, their sources were limited. However, they were able to follow up on several leads. They located a couple who had gone to the movies with Einhorn and Holly on September 11, during the weekend she went to pick up her belongings. It was the last time she was known to be alive. A few days later, Einhorn tried to convince friends to help him dump a large, dilapidated, heavy steamer trunk into the nearby Schuylkill River. He said it was filled with top secret Russian documents. However, the friends decided not to help him. He also asked his landlord to help move the trunk; however, he also declined.
Finally, the tenants in the apartment below Einhorn’s told one of the investigators about a choking stench seeping into their apartment that smelled like "dead animals." They also pointed out a crack in their closet ceiling where a brown, sticky liquid was seeping through. The ceiling was directly below the closet in Einhorn's apartment. The tenant also reported hearing a "blood-curdling scream" and heavy banging around the time of Holly's disappearance. The landlord tried to enter Einhorn's apartment to find the source of the smell, but he refused him entry. When plumbers were sent in, he refused to let them in his padlocked closet (he had the only key).
After fourteen months of investigating, Stevens and Pearce brought their report to police. It was the report that brought authorities to Einhorn’s apartment with a search warrant on March 28, 1979. By then, Holly had been missing for eighteen months. Former Detective Michael Chitwood was involved in the search. When he entered, he was hit by the smell and immediately went to its source: the padlocked closet. He pried it open with a crowbar. Once inside, he was hit by a distinct decaying smell. Being a homicide detective, he knew that it was the smell of a dead body.
After removing some boxes, Detective Chitwood found the sealed trunk. After removing the lock and opening it, he found newspapers dated August and September 1977 (around the time of Holly's disappearance). Under them was Styrofoam packing material and air fresheners. He scooped through it until he came upon a human hand. Underneath was the rest of Holly's body, mummified by the heat. When he said to Einhorn, "It looks like we found Holly," Einhorn responded, "You found what you found."
An autopsy determined that Holly had been killed by several blows to the head with a blunt object. Detective Chitwood says that he was saddened and sickened about finding Holly in the way she was found. However, he also had a good feeling, knowing that they were going to lock up Einhorn for killing her. Soon after his arrest, Einhorn came up with an explanation. He claimed the FBI and CIA (and possibly the KGB) had framed him by planting Holly’s body in his closet. He claimed that they did that because he knew too much about their weapons development, psychic research, mind-control experiments, and global conspiracies.
Einhorn's attorney, one-time Philadelphia D.A., now U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, pulled off the impossible – bail for Einhorn, which was set at just $40,000. $4,000 (all that was needed for his release) was paid for by his friend, Canadian socialite Barbara Bronfman, who was married to an heir to the Seagram's fortune.
Detective Chitwood was offended when they allowed Einhorn out on bail. He says that in his entire career, no one else who was charged with murder was let out on bail. He was sickened and disgusted by the "parade of prominent people", including a minister, a corporate lawyer, a playwright, an economist, and a phone company executive, who went before the court and testified as character witnesses, "singing the praises of Ira Einhorn", even though he was an accused murderer. He told the district attorney that he believed that Einhorn would take off before he would ever stand trial.
In January 1981, two days before a pretrial hearing, Einhorn did indeed flee the country. A warrant was issued for his arrest, but he was long gone. A dozen years passed. Finally, in September 1993, fearing that witnesses would vanish or pass away, Philadelphia authorities made an extraordinary choice: to put Einhorn on trial in absentia for Holly’s murder (a year earlier, a state law had changed to allow trials in absentia). It took the jury only two hours to find him guilty of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison. Whether or not he learned of his conviction remains a matter of speculation. Since jumping bail, he has lived in Europe, primarily Ireland and Sweden.
Richard DiBenedetto, head of extradition for the Philadelphia district attorney's office, has been trying to find Einhorn for over a decade. He has tracked Einhorn across Europe, interviewing dozens of his former friends and lovers in an attempt to locate him. It was discovered that after he fled the United States, he first went to London, England, where he stayed with a friend. He was soon joined by an American girlfriend. They rented an apartment in Dublin, Ireland. His landlord, Denis Weaire, evicted him and reported him to the FBI when he discovered Einhorn was a wanted fugitive. However, there was no extradition treaty between Ireland and the United States at the time, so Einhorn could not be arrested. He then left for Wales.
Around that time, DiBenedetto assumed control of the investigation. A few years later, Denis spotted Einhorn in Dublin, Ireland, and confronted him; Einhorn insisted his name was "Ben Moore." By that point, Ireland and the U.S. did have an extradition treaty, so Denis immediately contacted DiBenedetto. However, by the time Irish police moved in, Einhorn was gone again.
Einhorn and his American girlfriend broke up in 1984. When she returned to the United States two years later, she was interviewed by DiBenedetto. She told him Einhorn was receiving funds from Bronfman. It took another two years to arrange an interview with Bronfman. She admitted sending money to Einhorn until earlier that year (1988), when she read a book about him. She told DiBenedetto that Einhorn was with Annika Flodin, a daughter of well-to-do parents in Stockholm, Sweden. The Swedish police soon found Einhorn’s address in Stockholm, but by the time they arrived there, he was already on the run again. Annika, who was still there, was interviewed; she claimed that Einhorn's name was "Ben Moore" and that she was his landlady.
Although Annika claimed that she and Einhorn/Moore were not romantically involved, authorities believed otherwise. Three years later, she moved to Denmark. Shortly afterwards, she disappeared, leaving the address of Dublin bookseller Eugene Mallon as her destination. Einhorn had been a customer and friend of Eugene's. Authorities believe that Annika and Einhorn are still together, and that he is probably using the name "Eugene Mallon" (they suspect Eugene gave him his identification and may have harbored him for some time in Dublin). She is not suspected of any crime; she may not even know that he is a convicted killer.
D.A. Rosen believes that Einhorn is probably now frequenting a university somewhere, spending time with poetry groups or artists, somewhere where he can "expound" and have a readymade audience to listen to him "boast and brag" in his intellectual way. Sadly, Holly's parents will never see justice in her case; her father passed away in 1988 and her mother passed away in 1990. Elisabeth has named her daughter after Holly. She says that whenever Einhorn is caught, she wants to fly to where he is and see him in "the orange coveralls and the handcuffs." At that point, she will know that it will be "finished", and she will be able to tell Holly.
Einhorn likes to play the ancient oriental game "Go." He is also interested in old Germanic languages and was involved in poetry groups in Ireland. There have been no confirmed sightings of Annika since 1992, when she was seen in Dublin, Ireland.
Extra Notes:

  • This case first aired on the January 5, 1996 episode.
  • It was also featured on America's Most Wanted during his flight from justice and documented on People Magazine Investigates after his arrest.
  • In 1999, NBC produced a mini-series, The Hunt for the Unicorn Killer, about it, starring Naomi Watts as Holly.
  • Author Steven Levy, who was interviewed for the segment, wrote the book The Unicorn's Secret about the case.
  • Einhorn called himself "The Unicorn" because his surname means "Unicorn" or "One Horn" in German.
  • During the segment, it was stated that Einhorn organized Earth Day; however, this was apparently a false story concocted by Einhorn himself. Earth Day's organizers have stated that environmental activist and former Senator Gaylord Nelson was Earth Day's official founder and organizer. The organizers also stated Einhorn was not even part of the committee that organized the event. His only involvement in the initial event was when he spent an hour talking at the podium, refusing to get off stage, in an apparent attempt at "fifteen minutes of fame."
  • Some sources spell Annika's last name as "Flodden" or "Floddin".

Einhorn after his arrest

Results: Captured. After the broadcast, sixty-five-year-old Hjordis Reichel, a Swedish viewer living in California, contacted one of her relatives, a high-ranking Swedish police official, and asked them to look for information about Einhorn and Annika. The official located Annika's Swedish social security number and gave it to Hjordis. Hjordis gave the number to DiBenedetto. He had his contact at Interpol, Jan Eklind, run it through a Swedish motor vehicle database. Eklind's search revealed that in 1994, Annika had applied for a French driver's license under the name "Annika Flodin Mallon." "Mallon" happened to be the last name of a suspected alias of Einhorn's. On the application, she also cited her previous license issued in Sweden under her real name, which caused the application to be found in the Swedish database.
In May 1997, DiBenedetto contacted French authorities and gave them the French address on Annika's application. It belonged to a farmhouse in Champagne-Mouton, a small, secluded village in southern France. French authorities, posing as tourists and fishermen, surveilled the house for about a month until an arrest warrant was approved. Finally, on the morning of Friday, June 13, 1997, authorities entered the house and arrested Einhorn in an upstairs bedroom. He initially claimed that he was "Eugene Mallon"; however, fingerprints confirmed his true identity. He and Annika were married and had been living there since 1993. He told residents that he was a British mystery writer and had settled there for "quiet inspiration." Residents said he rarely came to town and described him as "arrogant".
In December 1997, a few months after his arrest, Einhorn was freed when a French court refused to extradite him. France considers trials in absentia an abuse of human rights. Therefore, they do not allow foreign nationals to be extradited based on these trials unless the defendant has the option to request a new trial. In January 1998, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed a law bringing the state's provision of a retrial on request in line with French law. They also guaranteed that he could not be executed if convicted. As a result, in September, Einhorn was arrested again, and extradition proceedings began.
In 1999, a civil jury ordered Einhorn to pay the Maddux family $907 million in damages as part of a wrongful death suit. However, the most important thing for them was to see him brought back to the United States for trial. Her siblings traveled to France to testify at the extradition hearing. In February 1999, a French judge agreed to extradite Einhorn back to Pennsylvania. He attempted to appeal his extradition, taking his case to the French Supreme Court. The court turned him down. In July 2001, the European Court of Human Rights requested a delay in his extradition. However, a week later, they dropped the request. After losing his last appeal, he tried to slit his own throat. However, he was not seriously injured. Finally, on July 20, 2001, he was extradited from France back to Pennsylvania.
In October 2002, Einhorn's new trial began. Prosecutors alleged that he killed Holly because he was jealous and upset that she was ending their relationship and leaving him for Saul. Two of Einhorn's former girlfriends testified that he attacked them when they tried to break up with him. One said that the two had been in a relationship for about four months when she decided to end it. She felt he was being too domineering and manipulative; she claimed that he tried to make her sever ties with her family. For months, he tried to win her back. Finally, she agreed to meet him at a friend's apartment to tell him she would never get back together with him. At one point, she left the apartment; when she returned, he came from behind the door and smashed a bottle over her head. He struck her several times, then tried to choke her. Fortunately, she survived. The other former girlfriend was also choked by him when she tried to end the relationship.
Prosecutors also showed the jury Einhorn's diary from the time of the murder. He wrote about feelings of anger, jealousy, and rage that he felt about Holly and other former girlfriends. Examples included: "To kill what you love when you can't have it seems so natural that strangling Rita last night seemed so right," "To beat a woman -- what joy," and "The violence that flowed through my being tonight...could result in the murder of that which I seem to love so deeply."
At the trial, Einhorn took the stand and maintained his innocence. Again, he claimed that Holly had been killed by CIA agents who framed him because he knew too much about the agency's "paranormal military research." He also claimed they did it to discredit him for his civil rights work and research on Soviet mind control weaponry. However, the jury did not buy it. On October 17, 2002, after deliberating for less than three hours, they convicted him of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Einhorn began serving his sentence at a medium-security state prison in Houtzdale, Pennsylvania. In April 2016, he was moved to a minimum-security prison, presumably due to illness. On April 3, 2020, he died of natural causes in the State Correctional Institution Laurel Highlands; he was seventy-nine.