Holly Marie found 40 years after her parents were murdered


A murdered couple’s missing child has been found alive – 42 years after she and her parents mysteriously disappeared.

A murdered couple’s missing kid has been found alive – 42 years after she and her parents mysteriously disappeared.

In 1980, Harold Dean Clouse moved from Florida to Texas with his wife Tina and their young daughter, Holly Marie, driving his mother’s sedan.

But then the three vanished, The Sun reports.

Donna Casasanta, Clouse’s mother, has spent the last 40 years searching for answers in their case, according to the Houston Chronicle.

In October 2021, the bodies of Clouse and his wife were positively identified after being discovered in early 1981. But baby Holly Marie was never found.

Finally, this week, investigators found Holly Marie alive and well, living in Oklahoma after using an online ancestry site to track down her down using DNA.

But questions remain about her parents’ disappearance.

Cult ties

Casasanta often received letters from her son after he moved to Texas from Florida with his wife and daughter.

But the letters stopped abruptly in October 1980.

Months after the couple and their daughter disappeared, Casasanta received an anonymous phone call from someone claiming to have found the family’s car out in California.

Three white robe-clad women drove the car across the country back to Casasanta in Florida, according to the Houston Chronicle.

One of the women, “Sister Susan,” told Casasanta that her son had joined a cult.

She also said that Clouse gave up his possessions and didn’t want anything to do with his family or past.

“That was weird,” Casasanta told the Chronicle. “We really got frightened, and we started searching and searching.”

Beaten and strangled

In January 1981, a German Shepherd discovered a decomposed human arm, carrying it in its mouth back to its owner.

Police then began to search the area in Harris County, Texas, near Houston.

Two bodies were found a week later – a man’s who had been beaten to death and a woman’s who had been strangled.

Investigators determined the two had been dead for quite some time.

But the bodies could not be identified as Clouse and his wife.

A mother’s despair

Casasanta waited for news about her son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter for years.

Five years after they disappeared, Casasanta and other family members began registering their names on missing persons lists.

They contacted the Social Security Administration and the Salvation Army as well.

“We pretty much thought they had joined this religious group and didn’t want to have contact with us,” said Les Linn, Tina Clouse’s brother.

Forty-two years later, genealogists received permission to test the remains discovered in Harris County.

Identifinders International, an organisation that works with law enforcement on genealogy, took the genetic information and tried to find matches using Gedmatch.com.

That site shares data with law enforcement agencies in the hopes of solving crimes and mysteries like the Clouse’s.

The genealogists were able to match Clouse’s DNA with relatives in Kentucky, leading them to Casasanta’s daughter, Debbie Brooks.

Tina’s remains were identified in January.

A family reunited

The Texas Attorney-General’s Office took control of the case once the Clouse’s remains were identified, looking to learn more about Holly Marie.

It was announced in a press conference on June 9 that Baby Holly was dropped off at a church in Arizona by two white robe-clad women.

The women claimed to be part of a nomadic religious group, officials said, adding that they believed in the separation of women and men and practiced vegetarianism, among other habits.

Officials also said the people who raised Holly are not considered suspects in the case.

Texas authorities, along with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office in Florida and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, all worked together to find Holly and bring the family together.

“It’s one of the most meaningful things I’ve ever been a part of,” Det. Steve Wheeler of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.

“It’s a once in a lifetime thing to play even a small part in reuniting a family after 40 years.”

“Finding Holly is a birthday present from heaven since we found her on Junior’s [Dean Clouse’s] birthday,” Casasanta said through a family spokesperson.

“I prayed for more than 40 years for answers and the Lord has revealed some of it.”

While Holly has been found, the investigation into the murders of Dean and Tina Clouse remains ongoing.

This story was published by The Sun and was reproduced with permission.

Originally published as Holly Marie found 40 years after her parents were murdered



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