A woman who disappeared as a child when her parents were murdered in Texas in 1980 was found alive more than 40 years later.
The young man, who was known as “Baby Holly” disappeared after Tina Gail Linn Clouse and Harold Dean Clouse Jr were found dead in a wooded area of Houston.
Now, the 42-year-old, who still goes by the name Holly, was identified using DNA technology and was recently reunited with her family, officials said.
Investigators found Holly, who was adopted by a couple, at her workplace earlier this week and told her her identity, and hours later she was on a Zoom call with her biological grandmother and aunts and uncles.
Holly Marie Clouse and her parents Tina, 17, and Harold, 21, disappeared in Texas in 1980 after moving to the state from Florida.
Investigators found remains of the couple murdered in 1981, but their identities remained a mystery until 2021, their bodies were exhumed and identified using genetic genealogy done by Identifinders International.
Dean, who was a carpenter, was beaten to death, while Tina was strangled.
Holly’s biological paternal grandmother Donna Casasanta said she had been located on her murdered son’s birthday and called it “a birthday gift from heaven”.
“I prayed for over 40 years for answers and the Lord revealed some of them… we found Holly,” said Ms. Casasanta.
Her aunt, Sherry Linn Green, welcomed her reunion with Holly.
“After finally being able to reunite with Holly, I dreamed about her and my sister Tina last night,” she said in a statement.
“In my dream, Tina was lying on the floor rolling around and laughing and playing with Holly as I’d seen them do many times before when they lived with me before they moved to Texas.
“I believe Tina is finally resting in peace knowing that Holly is reuniting with her family. Personally, I’m so relieved to know that Holly is alive and well and was taken care of, but also torn apart by it all. That baby was her life.”
Authorities have not released details about how they found Holly, how she survived the murder or how she was adopted.
Holly’s discovery was announced Thursday by the Texas Attorney General.
“I am extremely proud of the exceptional work performed by my office’s newly formed Cold Cases and Missing Persons Unit,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.
“My office worked diligently across state lines to unravel the mystery surrounding Holly’s disappearance. We were successful in our efforts to locate her and reunite her with her biological family.”
The two genetic genealogists who first worked on the case and helped make the discovery say they can’t believe how much Holly looks like her mother.
“I cried through the whole thing,” said Misty Gillis, the Identifinders contractor who worked on the case last year. The Houston Chronicle.
“It was extremely surreal,” added Allison Peacock, who worked with Gillis, before starting her own company of genetic genealogy investigations.
“See her, see what she looks like, see her mother reflected in her face.”
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children thanked the police for their work in solving the mystery of Holly’s identity.
“At the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, we know that with advances in technology and the hard work and dedication of law enforcement, we can get answers even after four decades,” said John Bischoff, vice president, Division of Children. missing. at NCMEC.
“We are thrilled that Holly will now have the chance to connect with her biological family that has been looking for her for so long. We hope this will be a source of encouragement to other families who have lost loved ones and remind us to never give up.
“NCMEC applauds the collaborative effort of the Cases and Missing Persons Unit of the Texas Attorney General’s Office, the Lewisville Police Department and all relief agencies that have come together to make today’s news possible.”