Found Alive After Four Decades: 42-Year-Old Holly Marie Clouse Is Located In Oklahoma
Holly Marie Clouse vanished from Texas as an infant after her parents, Harold Dean Clouse Jr. and Tina Gail Linn Clouse, were murdered 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 murdered 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 Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) provided more background on the case,“Through the collaborative efforts of the Texas Attorney General’s Office Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit, the Lewisville Police Department as well as numerous law enforcement 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. Investigators reportedly walked into Holly’s job and broke the news to her recently. USA Today reports she was adopted by a family as a baby and they are not suspects.
The Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said, “I am extremely proud of the exceptional work done by my office’s newly formed Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit. My office diligently worked across state lines to uncover the mystery 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 murdered in 1981. They were not identified until their bodies were exhumed 40 years later when a genetic genealogy agency confirmed their DNA was positively connected to the crimes.
The Houston Chronicle reported that in 1981, a dog uncovered bones in the woods, but baby Holly’s remains were not found anywhere near the site. The recovery led to the couple in a "remote patch" of trees in Harris County, TX. The report said the couple was killed likely around New Year's Day in 1981. Tina was strangled, and Harold was beaten to death, the report added. In addition, reportedly, a bloody towel and green gym shorts were discarded near the bodies.
Casasanta previously told the publication, "I will never forget my son and his Tina, I went years in pain wondering where they were.” She added, "I spent years with my chest on fire, just waiting."
KWTX reports the identification of the bodies was a team effort. Forensic Anthropology Director Dr. Jennifer Love, who works for the Unit-Harris County Medical Examiner's office, exhumed both bodies. Love reportedly extracted DNA and worked hard to put the pieces together.
In 2021, Indianapolis-based media company audiochuck funded the research in combination with Deborrah Pinto with the Harris County Institute of Forensic Services. Ultimately, according to KWTX, the case was put together in 10 days by Misty Gillis with Identifiers 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 case. It was a difficult case emotionally."
According to NCMEC at a press conference, investigators provided more details about the possible suspects or persons who may have more information. It’s possible, reportedly, they were members of a nomadic religious group and were wearing white religious robes. The suspects may have possibly practiced vegetarianism at the time and renounced worldly goods.
As for Holly’s positive identification and recovery, Vice President of the Missing Children Division at NCMEC John Bischoff said, “We are thrilled 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 missing loved ones and reminds us all to never give up. NCMEC applauds the collaborative effort of the Texas Attorney General’s Office Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit, the Lewisville Police Department and all the assisting agencies who came together to make today’s news possible.”
If you have any information about Clouse murders, please authorities contact the Texas Attorney Genera’s Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit: firstname.lastname@example.org.