The identity of Holly's biological parents, whose bodies were found in 1981, was established last year using genetic genealogy.
When the bodies of Tina Gail Linn Clouse and Harold Dean Clouse Jr were found after they vanished with their infant daughter in 1980, no sign of the child was found with her parents' remains. Their exhumed bodies, though found in 1981 in a wooded area of Houston, remained unidentified until 2021 when they were identified using genetic genealogy.
Even then, what happened to their daughter remained a mystery.
After over 40 years, on June 9, 2022, the Texas Attorney General's office announced they had located Holly Marie Clouse, now 42, per PEOPLE.
It wasn't until June 7, 2022 when the missing infant was notified of the identities of her parents as per the Texas Attorney General's office. She later took part in a video call with her biological relatives. Holly Marie now lives in Oklahoma with her adoptive family. The family who raised her are not suspects in the disappearance or the death of her biological parents, as confirmed by First Assistant Attorney General Brent Webster in a news conference.
"I am extremely proud of the exceptional work done by my office's newly formed Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit," Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a press release. "My office diligently worked across state lines to uncover the mystery surrounding Holly's disappearance. We were successful in our efforts to locate her and reunite her with her biological family."
Baby Holly Marie Clouse Was Left at a Church by 2 Barefoot Women in Robes Who Belonged to Religious Group https://t.co/QIecnLODna— People (@people) June 9, 2022
Also, in the release, it was shared that her biological paternal grandmother, Donna Casasanta, said she was located on her slain son's birthday, calling the news "a birthday present from heaven."
"I prayed for more than 40 years for answers and the Lord has revealed some of it... we have found Holly," Casasanta said.
"After finally being able to reunite with Holly, I dreamed about her and my sister, Tina last night," Holly's aunt Sherry Linn Green said in the release. "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."
However, the questions about Dean and Tina's death remain unanswered.
Tina Gail Linn Clouse, 17, and Harold Dean Clouse Jr., 21, had last been seen by family before they left their home in Volusia County, Florida so Dean could pursue carpentry work in Texas, per Fox 13 News.
#BREAKING Holly Marie Clouse has been found alive and well. Her family is overjoyed. Thank you to the @TXAG new #ColdCase Unit for reuniting her with her family. Learn more on Facebook on the #WhereisHollyMarie page. #NCMEC #missing #genealogy4justice pic.twitter.com/DLZJjciRNu— Allison Peacock (@Allison_Peacock) June 9, 2022
As per The Washington Post, sometime around 1980 or 1981, a woman called "Sister Susan" had rung up the missing couple's family to inform them that they had joined a religious group and wanted no further contact with their families, Webster said. She further asked the family if they wanted her to return the missing couple's car. Authorities in Florida were informed about the family's meeting with the woman who then returned the car to Dona Casasanta. Webster explained that no case file about any arrest could be found by Florida authorities.
The couple had been dead for about two months before their bodies were found as a result of a dog search.
At the time, Dean was found beaten, bound, and gagged. Tina had been strangled.
Meanwhile, the investigation into the murders of Holly’s biological parents, Tina and Dean Clouse, is ongoing and, if anyone has information about their deaths, they are requested to kindly contact the Texas Attorney General’s Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit at email@example.com.
Cover Image Source: Twitter | Allison Peacock