Police find bones, other evidence at Horvath home
Pa. State Troopers investigating the November 2013 disappearance of Holly Grim of Lower MAcungie Township interviewed hundreds of people in connection with the case, ruling out potential suspects one-by-one.
But they were never able to rule out one co-worker, Michael Gene Horvath, 49, of Saylorsburg, Monroe County.
On Oct. 13, nearly three years after Grim vanished from her home, police charged Horvath with criminal homicide in connection with her death.
“As a result of a very thorough search done on the property of Michael Horvath, [state police] were able to uncover a lot of evidence including many skeletal remains and bones which were matched to Holly Grim,” said Michael Mancuso of the Monroe County District Attorney’s office, during a press conference.
Grim often attended the Saturday night races at Mahoning Valley Speedway, where her boyfriend served on a pit crew.
Kenny Hein of Kenny Hein Racing is a neighbor of Erica Seither of New Tripoli.
According to Seither, prior to her disappearance, Grim spent weekends in New Tripoli with her boyfriend, Dwayne Mory, a member Hein’s pit crew, she said.
Officials confirmed human bones identified as Grim’s were found during the search. They also revealed Horvath’s blood was found on the door of Grim’s home the day she disappeared.
Horvath allegedly told police he did not know Grim well, but he knew where she lived and had been at her home twice.
He said both times were to help her move a clothes washer or dryer.
Horvath was taken into custody last Thursday and charged with criminal homicide, tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice and abuse of a corpse.
He has also been charged with two counts of kidnapping in Lehigh County, where it is believed he abducted Grim.
Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said he and the Monroe County district attorney agreed the homicide case will go forward in Monroe County because she was more than likely killed there.
Lehigh County filed the kidnapping charges, but Martin said those will be transferred to Monroe County so both charges will be prosecuted there.
Horvath had worked about 21 years at the Allen Organ Company in Lower Macungie Township, and with Grim for about seven years. Police first spoke with him about a month after Grim vanished on Nov. 22, 2013, however it took them three years and hundreds of interviews to narrow the list of potential suspects.
“We all talked to hundreds of people, and we kept coming back to Mr. Horvath,” State Police Lt. Joseph Sokolofski said. “Different people were ruled out, but we were never able to do that with Mr. Horvath.”
Police said Horvath called Allen Organ on the morning of Grim’s disappearance to tell them he would be late because he had a flat tire. He said he drove back to his residence to repair the tire and drove back to work by 9:30 a.m. Horvath left his job at Allen Organ in March 2014.
Troopers searched Horvath’s house and allegedly found numerous videotapes and DVDs related to murder, “hunting humans” and sexual deviance. They also allegedly found sex toys and pornographic magazines and videos, with several of the sex toys in a fanny pack or bag, suggesting portability.
In addition, they reportedly found handcuffs, leg shackles and other devices that could be used as restraints, and stun guns.
A planner with handwritten notes suggested the writer might be watching, following or stalking someone.
“There were certain tendencies he had, and we’re investigating them,” Sokolofski said.
In August 2015, police interviewed Horvath’s wife, Cathy, who reportedly told them the day Grim disappeared, she returned home from work to find Horvath’s dirty shoes in their bedroom and the bedroom light had been turned on.
Cathy Horvath said she knew her husband had been home that day because she left for work after him and their bedroom was not in that condition.
She also told police she and Horvath disposed of household waste on their own property. She said when Horvath kills and guts the wild game he hunts, he disposed of the remains in the woods around their home for other animals to consume.
Hoping for a different outcome
Sokolofski offered condolences to Grim’s loved ones, who had held out hope over the last three years that she would be found alive.
“I would just like to offer my condolences to the Grim family, especially Jeanette, her mother,” Sokolofski said. “I know this isn’t the result she was hoping for, however I hope she can find some solace in the relief from the daily anguish that I’m sure she suffered.”
Grim was last seen by a neighbor on the morning of Nov. 22, 2013, outside of her home in a Lower Macungie trailer park.
She was at the bus stop in Red Maple Acres Mobile Home Park just after 6:30 a.m.
The neighbor said Grim was wearing a pink jacket, which has never been found.
Her mother became suspicious after she didn’t answer calls and didn’t show up for work, and contacted 911. When police searched her home, they found her glasses, asthma medication, cigarettes and car, all things Grim would have taken if she left the home.
At the scene, police saw a spilled coffee mug and an overturned ashtray on the floor. A single button not matching any of Grim’s clothes was found on the floor.
That day, police searched the home and found a fresh bloodstain on the back door. The stain was allegedly matched to Horvath’s DNA, leading them to focus their investigation on him.
Martin declined to say why they decided to search Horvath’s house when they did. The search affidavit is sealed.
“In a homicide/missing person investigation, you’re in until you’re out,” Sokolofski said.
Horvath is being held without bail at Monroe County Correctional Facility. A preliminary hearing on the charges is scheduled for Oct. 24 before District Judge JoLana Krawitz.
East Penn Press Editor Deb Galbraith contributed to this article.