Holly Marie Clouse vani’shed from Texas as an in’fant after her parents, Harold Dean Clouse Jr. and Tina Gail Linn Clouse, were mu’r’dered in 1981. In June 2022, she was found alive and well.
Donna Casasanta never gave up hope that one day she would be reunited with her granddaughter, Holly Maire Clouse after her parents were mu’rde’r’ed in 1981. This week, Casasanta’s prayers were finally answered when Holly was found alive, living as an adult in Oklahoma.
Casasanta told USA Today in a statement, “Finding Holly is 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.”
The National Center for Mi’s’sing and Ex’plo’ited Children (NCMEC) provided more background on the case, “Through the collaborative efforts of the Texas Att’orney General’s Office Cold Case and Mi’ss’ing Per’sons Unit, the Lewisville Poli’ce Department as well as numerous la’w enfo’rcement agencies and NCMEC, baby Holly has been located.”
NCMEC said they were able to connect with Holly directly just prior to the announcement to the public. “She said she hopes to meet her biological family in person soon. Although she realizes that so many people are interested in hearing more about her and her story, she is asking for privacy at this time,” NCMEC added. Inv’estigators reportedly walked into Holly’s job and broke the news to her recently. USA Today reports she was ad’opted by a family as a baby and they are not su’sp’ects.
The Texas Atto’rney General Ken Paxton said, “I am extremely proud of the exceptional work done by my office’s newly formed Co’ld Case and Mi’ss’ing Persons Unit. My office dilig’ently worked across state lines to unc’over the m’ystery surrounding Holly’s disappearance. We were successful in our efforts to locate her and reunite her with her biological family.”
According to USA Today, Holly’s parents, Harold Clouse, 22, and Tina Clouse, 18, were mu’rde’red in 1981. They were not identified until their bodies were exh’u’med 40 years later when a genetic genealogy agency confirmed their DNA was positively connected to the cr’ime’s.
The Houston Chronicle reported that in 1981, a dog unc’ove’red bo’nes in the woods, but baby Holly’s re’m’ains were not found anywhere near the site. The recovery led to the couple in a “remo’te patch” of trees in Harris County, TX. The report said the couple was ki’|led likely around New Year’s Day in 1981. Tina was st’ra’ngl’ed, and Harold was be’ate’n to de’ath, the rep’ort added. In addition, reportedly, a bl’o’ody towel and green gym shorts were disc’ard’ed near the bo’di’es.
Casasanta previously told the publication, “I will never forget my son and his Tina, I went years in pa’i’n wondering where they were.” She added, “I spent years with my ch’e’st on fi’r’e, just waiting.”
KWTX reports the ide’ntific’ation of the bodies was a team effort. For’ensic Ant’hr’opology Director Dr. Jennifer Love, who works for the Unit-Harris County Medical Examiner’s office, exh’um’ed both bod’ie’s. Love reportedly extracted DNA and worked hard to put the pi’e’ces together.
In 2021, India’na’polis-based media company audi’ochuck funded the research in combination with Deborrah Pinto with the Harris County Institute of For’e’nsic Services. Ultimately, according to KWTX, the case was put together in 10 days by Misty Gillis with Id’ent’ifiers and Allison Peacock who was previously with the company.
Gillis told the station, “I’m very thankful to have been given the opportunity to work on this c’ase. It was a difficult case emotionally.”
According to NCMEC at a press conference, inve’sti’gators provided more details about the pos’sible sus’p’ects or persons who may have more information. It’s possible, repo’rte’dly, they were members of a no’m’adic re’ligio’us group and were wearing white rel’igio’us r’ob’es. The sus’pe’cts may have possibly practiced veget’arian’ism at the time and renounced worldly goods.
As for Holly’s positive ident’ificati’on and reco’very, Vice President of the Mis’s’ing Chi’ldr’en Division at NCMEC John Bischoff said, “We are thr’ill’ed that Holly will now have the chance to connect with her biological family who has been searching for her for so long. We hope that this is a source of encouragement for other families who have m”iss’ing loved ones and reminds us all to never give up. NCMEC appla’uds the collaborative effort of the Texas At’tor’ney Gene’ral’s Office Cold Case and Mis’s’ing Persons Unit, the Le’wisville Pol’ice Department and all the ass’isting agen’cies who came together to make today’s news possible.”
Source: Investigation Discovery