A baby who went missing 40 years ago when her parents were found murdered has finally been identified, located and introduced to her long-lost family.
Holly Marie Clouse, the missing daughter of a couple found murdered in Texas in 1981, earned the nickname “Baby Holly” when Harold Dean Clouse and Tina Gail Clouse disappeared after moving from Florida to Texas, KHOU reported.
The circumstances of the murders were strange, indeed.
Police said that Baby Holly’s parents may have gotten mixed up with some religious cult because the baby was later seen in the company of barefoot women in long robes.
Their bodies were discovered decades ago in the woods near Houston, Texas, in January 1981 and remained unidentified until this year when advanced DNA techniques identified them as the Clouses, KHOU reported in January.
Harold and Tina’s bodies yielded DNA that investigators found tied them to extended family members.
With the bodies of the Clouse couple finally identified, investigators had renewed interest in finding the long missing Baby Holly. And after months of tracking the clues, she was found.
It was discovered that Holly was adopted by a family — not suspected of any wrongdoing — and is now living in Oklahoma. She also has five children of her own and never knew her origins.
Thanks to investigators, Holly has finally met her biological family for the first time in her life.
Allison Peacock, the founder of FHD Forensics and one of the genealogists who helped identify the Clouse’s remains, praised the work everyone did to solve the case.
“They’ve spent the past six months with me digging through records, gathering photos for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s age progression portrait and documenting memories of Holly and her parents in an effort to help law enforcement,” Peacock said, according to KHOU.
Baby Holly’s grandmother, Donna Casasanta, said finding Baby Holly was “a birthday present from heaven” because Holly was found on her father’s birthday, ABC News reported.
“I prayed for more than 40 years for answers, and the Lord has revealed some of it,” Casasanta added.
There is still a mystery to Baby Holly’s life, though. Just how she got from her murdered parents’ arms to a family in Oklahoma is still shrouded in mystery.
At a recent press conference, First Assistant Attorney General of Texas Brent Webster briefly outlined what little is known.
“Baby Holly was left at a church in Arizona and raised by a family who had nothing to do with her disappearance,” Webster said, according to KHOU. “Two women who identified themselves as members of a nomadic religious group brought Holly to the church. They were wearing white robes and were barefoot.”
One member of the religious group, “Sister Susan,” reportedly called the family back in 1981 and said they had the Clouse family car and wanted to sell it back to them for cash.
Later, three women of this sect were questioned by police after driving the car to Florida, but they were released without charges.
Investigators found that the women belonged to a strange sect that had no fixed address and wandered around the Southwest. They believed in the separation of the sexes, practiced vegetarianism and didn’t believe in using or wearing leather, according to the Daily Mail.
Members of the sect reportedly gave up another child at a laundromat years ago.
This couple was killed in 1980, but their remains weren’t ID’d until Oct. 2021. As two mysteries were solved, another was uncovered. @Allison_Peacock learned the couple had a one year old baby. @TXAG cold case unit took on the case & with help they found Holly Marie alive. @KHOU pic.twitter.com/vmQnXKI61L
— Xavier Walton (@xmanwalton) June 9, 2022
While some mysteries still remain. The most important one is solved, and it is a miracle: Baby Holly was found.
“What matters is that Holly was found happy and alive and now knows that she has a huge extended family that has loved her for decades,” Peacock said, KHOU reported.