Earth Day Fun Fact: Founder Killed and Composted Girlfriend

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Happy Earth Day! It’s a great day if you’re a liberal environmentalist who loves Mother Earth and is ambivalent towards showers.

It’s a less great day if you happen to be the girlfriend of Earth Day’s founder.

Here’s a tidbit you can bet they’ll leave off the pamphlets: Earth Day founder, Ira Einhorn, killed and composted his girlfriend back in the 70s, just a few years after he founded the hippie eco-holiday.

On September 9, 1977, Einhorn’s girlfriend, Holly Maddux–who had just broken up with him–came to his Philadelphia apartment to collect her things, which he’d threatened to throw out on the street unless she came over.

Einhorn was known for bringing awareness to environmental issues and for opposing violence. Advice that he should’ve taken back in 1977. Maddux was never seen again.

Eighteen months later, a downstairs neighbor complained about a brown, stinky liquid leaking from Einhorn’s apartment. Police came in, and they found Maddux’s severely-beaten body in a trunk, composting.

He missed his own lesson when it came to non-violence–but theoretically composting counts as being a good steward of the environment.

Einhorn fled the country just before his murder trial was about to begin in 1981, and wasn’t found and extradicted until 2001. He was convicted of murdering Holly Maddux and is now serving a life sentence in Pennsylvania.

Earth Day, for their part, has completely scrubbed Ira Einhorn from their official foundation story–declaring environmental activist Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin governor and U.S. Senator, as its official founder.

Einhorn maintains that, in addition to being the emcee for the first Earth Day event in Philadelphia, that Earth Day was his idea all along.