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Pennsylvania Man Accused Of Stalking Missing Coworker Found Guilty Of Her 2013 Murder

Prosecutors said Michael Horvath idolized the show "Dexter" and had a desire to become a serial killer when he kidnapped Holly Grim, killed her and hid her remains for three years. 

By Jax Miller
Police handouts of Holly Grim and Michael Horvath

A man in Pennsylvania has been found guilty of murdering his coworker in 2013 and hiding her remains on his property.

Michael Horvath, 55, was convicted during a bench trial on Friday for the kidnapping and murder of his former coworker Holly Grim, 41, according to WFMZ-TV. Monroe County Judge Margherita Worthington convicted him on charges of murder, kidnapping, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse, though she found Horvath not guilty of obstruction of law enforcement.

Horvath had agreed to a non-jury trial in exchange for the state taking the death penalty off the table, according to The Morning Call.

“I’m happy that we got some justice,” said the victim’s son, Zachary Grim. “I’m not sure if I can move on, but we are all going to try.”

Horvath and Grim had worked together at Allen Organ, a company that specializes in producing and manufacturing church organs, according to their website.

Prosecutor Michael Mancuso said at trial that Horvath obsessively stalked his coworker before her disappearance and had a morbid desire to become a serial killer, pointing to his fixation with the show “Dexter” and his research into how to use chloroform. During his closing arguments, he showed items taken from Horvath’s home, including pornographic bondage DVDs, stun guns and multiple kinds of restraints (including leg shackles), according to The Morning Call.

Grim disappeared on Nov. 22, 2013, and Horvath quickly became a person of interest after investigators found he hadn’t arrived on time to work that day.

Investigators believed Horvath kidnapped Grim shortly after she dropped her son off at the bus stop. Grim’s mother reported her daughter missing after she couldn’t reach her and noticed that her daughter’s home was in disarray, including spilled coffee and an overturned ashtray behind the couch, according to a criminal complaint obtained by the Pocono Record. Grim’s vehicle, cigarettes and asthma medication had been left at the home.

Horvath reportedly called in late to work on the day Grim disappeared, but claimed that he'd had to return home to change a flat tire, according to The Morning Call. He was interviewed several times in the two and a half years following Grim’s disappearance — but Grim was still missing, and there was not yet proof that a murder had definitely taken place.

In August 2015, the suspect's wife, Cathy Horvath, told authorities that, at the time of Grim’s disappearance, she’d suspected that her husband was having an affair with a woman named Nicole (who admitted that she'd met him on an adult dating website), according to the Pocono Record.

Cathy Horvath also told authorities that her husband had a spot on their wooded Ross Township property — nearly 300 miles west from where Grim disappeared — where Horvath would dispose of wild game entrails after killing and gutting his prey.

On Sept. 29, 2016 —nearly three years after Grim disappeared — officials obtained a search warrant and found Grim’s partial remains buried in a four-by-four section of an embankment on Horvath’s property, per the Pocono Report.  According to The Morning Call, investigators found human teeth, vertebrae and skull fragments beneath boulders and a child’s bed frame. A human bone was also discovered in a fire pit on the property. All matched Grim's DNA.

A blood smear linking him to the crime scene was found on the back door of Grim’s Lower Macungie Township trailer home — just southeast of Allentown —  and data from Horvath’s phone showing he'd placed a call in the area around the time of her disappearance, according to The Morning Call.

Although there wasn’t enough for experts to determine Grim’s cause of death, Monroe County Medical Coroner Bob Allen stated, “The bones indicate she died as a result of violence,” according to the Pocono Record. During the trial, Assistant District Attorney Michael Rakaczewski claimed that a forensic pathologist determined Grim was shot with a small-caliber weapon, according to The Morning Call.

Horvath’s defense theorized that others — including Cathy Horvath — could have murdered Grim. Defense attorney Janet Jackson said it was Cathy who “had the power in the relationship,” and claimed Cathy was jealous of her husband’s obsession with Grim, according to WFMZ.

Judge Worthington didn’t agree and convicted Michael Hovarth on Friday. The verdict came after a two-year delay in the trial due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The Morning Call.

“We are just so happy that they found him guilty so he can rot in jail the rest of his life,” said Nancy Godowski, who had been with Grim shortly before she vanished, according to WFMZ. “And that’s what he deserves.”

Horvath is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 8.

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