Baby whose parents were found murdered and dumped in woods in Houston is found ALIVE after 40 years
The missing daughter of two Texas newlyweds who were murdered and dumped in the woods more than 40 years ago has been found alive.
Holly Marie Clouse was a baby when her parents Harold Dean Clouse and Tina Gail Clouse disappeared in the late 1980s when they moved from Florida to Texas.
Harold, 21, and Tina, 17, were found dead on January 12, 1981, in a wooded area of Houston. However, their identities remained unknown until last year when DNA linked the couple to relatives in Kentucky.
The couple’s daughter, Holly, was not found with their remains, leading investigators to believe she might still be alive.
Family history detectives have now found Holly, a 42-year-old mother of five who lives in Oklahoma. It remains unclear what happened to her after her parents were killed.
Holly had connected her with her extended biological family and hopes to meet them in person soon, the Texas Attorney General’s office reported.
Holly Marie Clouse (pictured as a baby) was a baby when her parents Harold Dean Clouse and Tina Gail Clouse disappeared in the late 1980s while moving from Florida to Texas
Now, more than four decades later, Holly (pictured) is reconnected with her biological family
Police showed up at Holly’s Oklahoma workplace on Tuesday, on what would have been Harold’s 63rd birthday.
Hours later, she first met her family over the Internet.
“It’s one of the most meaningful things I’ve ever been a part of,” Det. Steve Wheeler, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, told: I LOVE† “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to play even a small part in reuniting a family after 40 years.”
It’s unclear if she was notified of the identities of her biological parents before Tuesday, as officials have not yet disclosed how they identified Holly.
Law enforcement officers will hold a news conference at 2:30 p.m. CST on Thursday and are likely to provide more details by then.
Investigators with the newly formed Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit in Texas set out to find Holly after officials confirmed Harold and Tina’s identities earlier this year.
Harold Dean Clouse, 21, and Tina Gail (Linn) Clouse, 17, (pictured with their one-year-old daughter Holly Marie) were found dead in a wooded area in Houston, Texas, in January 1981 — at the time, their identities were unknown.
Their bodies were found two months later by dogs off Wallisville Road in Houston. Harold had been beaten, tied up and gagged, while Tina had been strangled. The area where their remains were found is depicted in February 2022
The Texas Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit went looking for Holly (pictured as a baby) after officials confirmed Harold and Tina’s identities earlier this year.
The Hope for Holly Project stretched across state lines with law enforcement officers in Texas, Florida and Arizona working to find Harold and Tina’s missing baby.
Meanwhile, Holly’s extended family said finding her was an answered prayer.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children released an “age lapse” photo earlier this year showing what Holly might look like as an adult
“Finding Holly has been a birthday gift from heaven since we found her on Junior’s birthday. I’ve prayed for answers for over 40 years, and the Lord has revealed some of them… we found Holly,” said her grandmother, Donna Casasanta.
“Thank you to all the investigators for working so hard to find Holly. I prayed day in and day out for them and that they would find Holly and that she would be fine. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Mindy Montford. We will be eternally grateful to you.’
Harold and Tina Clouse, who married in 1979, disappeared in the late 1980s while moving from Volusia County, Florida, to Texas. Harold followed work as a carpenter.
The couple’s car was returned to their family after they disappeared, and relatives were led to believe the newlyweds had joined a religious sect and no longer wanted to be contacted.
Their bodies were found two months later by dogs off Wallisville Road in Houston. Harold had been beaten, tied up and gagged, while Tina had been strangled. There were no signs of their daughter on the scene.
Harris County forensic artist Mary Mize drew pastel-colored reconstructions of Harold (left, in his youth) and Tina (right, in her youth) Clouse in January 1981 after their bodies were found, but no one could identify the couple because they had only recently moved. to Houston
Officials have not yet revealed how they identified the mother of five Oklahoma children as missing Holly Marie Clouse (pictured during childhood)
Harris County forensic artist Mary Mize at the time drew pastel-colored reconstructions of the couple after their bodies were found, but no one could identify the couple because they had only recently moved to Houston.
The Clouse’s bodies had been exhumed in July 2011 to verify that the couple were related. But a major breakthrough came in the 40-year-old case in 2021, when forensic scientists Misty Gillis and Allison Peacock, of FHD forensicswere approached by Indentifinders International and handed over the mind-boggling puzzle.
The team added new information to GEDmatch.com and was able to match Harold Clouse’s DNA to his cousins in Kentucky.
Investigators contacted Harold’s sister, Debbie Brooks, and eventually identified the bodies as Harold and Tina.
Brooks then asked the team if they’d found the baby, but the scientists weren’t aware that Holly, who was last seen in Lewisville, Texas, even existed. The discrepancy led to the renewed search for the child.
Holly’s extended family (pictured in February where Harold and Tina’s bodies were found) have said finding her was a ‘gift from heaven’
“The very first thing that went through my mind when we heard that Holly had been found was the phone call I got eight months ago from [Peacock] about my sister’s death,” said Les Linn, Holly’s uncle after the police found his missing niece.
“The juxtaposition of that phone call with Holly’s sudden discovery just occurred to me. To go from the hope of finding her to her sudden meeting less than eight months later – how wonderful is that?’
“It’s such a blessing to be reassured that she’s okay and had a good life. The whole family slept well last night. The Hope for Holly project was a success thanks to Mindy and her team,” her aunt Cheryl Clouse repeated.
No arrests have ever been made in connection with the murders of Harold and Tina and the investigation into their deaths is still ongoing.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Texas Attorney General’s Cold Case and Missing Persons Division.