Murdered couple’s missing baby found alive 40 years later

(CNN) — A woman who was left at an Arizona church as a baby has been identified through DNA as the daughter of a couple who was murdered more than 40 years ago, officials said Thursday.

The family — Tina Gail Linn Clouse, Harold Dean Clouse Jr. and their infant daughter, Holly — went missing in 1980 shortly after moving from Florida to a Dallas suburb.

It was determined only last year that bodies discovered in 1981 in a wooded area in Houston were those of the parents. It is believed they were murdered. There was no sign of the child.

On Tuesday, investigators who had traced DNA links turned up at the Oklahoma workplace of Holly, now a 42-year-old woman. It was the first she ever heard of her tragic background; all she knew before that was that she had been adopted.

Hours after the stunning revelation, she was introduced to her grandmother, aunts and uncles during a Zoom call. She told them she had been married for more than 20 years and has five children and two infant grandchildren, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The family that adopted and raised Holly is not suspected of wrongdoing.

Investigators are still working to resolve the couple’s killing and are asking for the public’s help, Texas first assistant attorney general Brent Webster said at a news conference Thursday.

They are turning their attention to members of a nomadic religious group they believe brought the infant Holly to a church in Arizona, according to Webster. She was left there by two women, barefoot and wearing white robes.

A few months after Holly’s parents went missing, their families received a call from a woman who identified herself as “Sister Susan.” She said she was calling from Los Angeles to explain that the Clouses had joined their religious group, renounced all worldly possessions and wanted no further contact with their families.

Some members of the group went to Florida to return the couple’s car to Harold Clouse’s mother in exchange for money. They were taken into police custody, though it’s unclear whether they were arrested, according to Webster.

Investigators believed the group traveled around the American Southwest, including Texas, and were known in the Yuma, Arizona, area for asking for food, Webster said.

“We wish Holly the best. We’re grateful that we found her,” Webster said. “But we must continue with our purpose of finding who murdered this couple.”

Donna Casasanta, Holly’s biological grandmother, told TV station WESH that knowing Holly was still alive is “a gift 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.

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles