Texas 'Baby Holly' found safe over 40 years after parents' murder as investigators reveal chilling details

Holly Marie Clouse, now 42, has been located more than 40 years after her parents were apparently killed in Houston, Texas

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A child dubbed "Baby Holly" after going missing in the 1980s when her parents were apparently murdered in Texas has been found alive more than 40 years later, officials said Thursday. 

Cold case group Identifiers International located Holly Marie Clouse, now 42, "alive and well" just months after using genetic genealogy to positively identify her parents, murder victims Tina Gail Linn Clouse and Harold Dean Clouse Jr., officials revealed. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office made the stunning announcement during a press conference on Thursday, when investigators stressed that they need the public's help in getting answers. 

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"Baby Holly has been located alive and well and is now 42 years of age," Paxton’s office said in a press release. "Holly has been notified of the identities of her biological parents and has been in contact with her extended biological family and they hope to meet in person soon."

Clouse spoke to her biological family on Tuesday and will soon be meeting them in person, after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children offered to pay for her trip to be reunited with them, First Assistant Attorney General Brent Webster said Thursday. 

The newly created Texas Attorney General’s Office Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit worked with Identifiers International, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and several law enforcement agencies in Texas, Florida and Arizona in reaching the major development.

Holly’s grandmother, Donna Casasanta, said her family learned of Holly’s wellbeing on Dean’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," she said. "Thank you to all of the investigators for working so hard to find Holly. I prayed for them day after day and that they would find Holly and she would be alright."

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Tina Gail Linn Clouse and Harold Dean Clouse Jr., who were originally from Florida, were discovered apparently murdered and left in a wooded part of Houston, Texas, in the early '80s, officials have said. 

Holly – an infant at the time – was nowhere to be found and was classified as missing for decades, while Tina's and Dean’s remains were unidentified until 2021. All the while, loved ones continued searching for answers surrounding the whereabouts of the trio, whom they had not heard from since 1980, Paxton’s office said. 

New details shed light on the strange circumstances surrounding what happened to the young, budding Clouse family. 

On Thursday, Webster revealed baby Holly "was left in a church in Arizona and was taken into their care." None of the people who cared for Holly were considered suspects, he added. 

Webster described how a pair of women "who identified themselves as members of a nomadic religious group" brought Holly to the church.

"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," he said. "The women indicated they had given up a baby before at a laundromat."

The group is said to have traveled around the southwest region of the country, such as California, Arizona and possible Texas. 

Webster said the families of Dean and Tina Clouse had not heard from the trio since late October 1980, when they had been living in Lewisville, Texas. 

Dean and Tina's loved ones received a call sometime between December 1980 and January 1981 "from someone who identified herself as ‘Sister Susan,’ who explained she was calling from Los Angeles, California, and wanted to return Tina and Dean's car to their family," Webster said. 

"Sister Susan" allegedly went on to tell the family 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," Webser continued. "'Sister Susan' asked for money in exchange for returning the car to Florida, where the family lived. The family agreed, but contacted the local authorities about the situation."

The family met "Sister Susan" and one to two other women at a racetrack in Daytona, Florida. A man was possibly also with the women, Webster said. 

"Once again, these women were wearing robes and appeared to be members of this religious group," he added.

Investigators believed police had taken the women into custody, but have so far been unable to locate any police records. Officials have described the car as being a 1978 two-door AMC Concord, that was red or burgundy in color. 

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Tina and Dean Clouse's remains were discovered between January 6 and January 11, 1981, off of Wallisville Road in Harris County, Webster said. 

Investigators believe they were murdered between December 1980 and early January 1981.

The Attorney General’s Office Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit is asking anyone with information related to the case to call 512-936-0742 or email the unit here.