A mystery decades in the making is getting some answers!
Holly Marie Clouse went missing 40 years ago after her parents were murdered, and now she has finally been located!
On Thursday, First Assistant Attorney General of Texas, Brent Webster, revealed that he and a team of investigators had tracked down Holly, now 42. Officials have now learned that as a “baby,” she dropped off at an Arizona church by two women who were barefoot and in robes. They reportedly belong to a nomadic religious group. Webster explained:
“They indicated the beliefs of their religion included the separation of male and female members. Practicing vegetarian habits and not using or wearing leather goods.”
The women also indicated that they had given up a baby before, leaving them at a laundromat. It’s unclear how old Holly was when she was dropped off at the church, but she was raised by another family who “are not suspects in this case.”
According to the First Assistant Attorney General, there have been sightings of this religious group in the past. They are said to travel between Arizona, California, and possibly even Texas, he continued:
“There were sightings of this religious group around the Yuma area in the early ’80s.”
Now, it’s unclear how this religious group got ahold of Holly but it definitely seems suspicious, at least to us! You see, Holly’s biological parents Tina Gail Linn Clouse, 17, and Harold Dean Clouse Jr., 21, disappeared in Texas in 1980. Remains of their murdered bodies were found in a wooded area in Houston the next year, but their identities couldn’t be determined at that time.
But in late December 1980 or early January 1981, their families received a phone call from someone who identified themselves as Sister Susan. She claimed she was calling from Los Angeles and wanted to return Tina and Dean’s car to their family, according to Webster, who added:
“She further stated that Tina and Dean had joined their religious group and no longer wanted to have contact with their families. They were also giving up all of their possessions.”
She allegedly asked for money in exchange of the car. The families met up with Sister Susan, two other women, and possibly one male at the Daytona International Speedway racetrack in Florida, the official continued:
“Once again these women were wearing robes and appeared to be members of this religious group.”
Hmm. That definitely seems like a strange connection! Did this religious group have a hand in Tina and Dean’s deaths? Or do they at least know what might have happened? And how did they come into possession of Holly? It’s all very confusing, even to those investigating. Webster pleaded in the press conference:
“We are asking for help from the public because we have yet to solve this particular crime. We are still looking for suspects in this case.”
Part of the reason it might have taken so long to determine Holly’s whereabouts is that the case went cold until last year when the remains of Tina and Dean were identified using genetic genealogy. Still, authorities didn’t know what happened to their daughter. The Texas Attorney General’s Office started a cold case unit in March 2021 with an investigation beginning in Holly’s case in January 2022. So, once they got to work again, they were able to track her down pretty quickly!
As you can imagine, Tina and Dean’s family members are relieved to know that the couple’s child is alive and well. Holly was informed of her biological parents’ and relatives’ identities on Tuesday, and she has already spoken to her biological family members over a virtual conference call. They are expected to meet in person soon. Her paternal grandmother, Donna Casasanta, said in the press release:
“Finding Holly is a birthday present from heaven since we found her on [Dean’s] birthday. I prayed for more than 40 years for answers and the Lord has revealed some of it… we have found Holly.”
Sherry Linn Green, Holly’s aunt, added:
“After finally being able to reunite with Holly, I dreamed about her and my sister, Tina last night. In my dream, Tina was laying on the floor rolling around and laughing and playing with Holly like I saw them do many times before when they lived with me prior to moving to Texas. I believe Tina’s finally resting in peace knowing Holly is reuniting with her family. I personally am so relieved to know Holly is alive and well and was well cared for, but also torn up by it all. That baby was her life.”
Whoa. The investigation into Holly’s biological parents’ murders is still under investigation. Those with information have been asked to contact the Texas Attorney General’s Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit at email@example.com.