What happened to Holly Marie Clouse? Child reported missing in 1980 after her parents' murder found alive 40 years later

Holly Marie Clouse, who went missing as an infant, was discovered in Oklahoma (image via family photo)
Holly Marie Clouse, who went missing as an infant, was discovered in Oklahoma (image via family photo)

At a Thursday press conference, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office announced that Holly Marie Clouse, an infant who went missing after the murder of her parents in 1980, has been discovered at the age of 42.

According to People, Holly Marie and her parents, Harold Dean Clouse Jr., 21, and Tina Clouse, 17, had disappeared in Texas in 1980. In 2021, genealogists discovered that the parents of Holly Marie had been recovered by Texas Police in 1981, though their bodies remained unidentified until recent tests.

The Houston Chronicle reported that Dean was beaten to death, while Tina was strangled. Their child, however, was not found among the remains. According to People, the murders were connected to the activities of a Christian religious group.

On Tuesday, investigators from the Texas Attorney General’s office discovered that Holly Marie was alive in Oklahoma, where she worked an office job. It was revealed that she had been adopted by a family after she went missing.

Holly Marie Clouse was reunited with various family members in Zoom Calls on June 7. The Texas Attorney General's office stated during the press conference that they would investigate the religious group that has been linked to the murders of Dean and Tina Clouse.

The disappearance of Holly Marie Clouse

Dean Clouse, according to the Houston Chronicle, was a Floridian who had joined a fringe religious group in the 1970s. After joining the aforementioned group, he married Tina, with whom he had his only daughter, Holly Marie.

In 1980, the Clouse’ moved from Florida to Texas. It was soon after this that they abruptly disappeared. In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Dean Clouse’s mother, Donna Casasanta, told reporters that soon after, she came into contact with the religious group Dean had joined.

Casasanta claimed that 3 women in white robes approached her in Florida with Dean's car. They allegedly assured Casasanta that Dean had joined their group and pledged to sever ties with his family.

According to First Assistant Attorney General, Brent Webster, police had responded at the time.

He said:

“The police reportedly took the women into custody, but there’s no record of a police report on file.”

He added:

“They are on the hunt for that report.”

Webster also claimed another sighting of the white-clad women who have been linked to the crime during the press conference. He claimed that two women dressed in white robes dropped the infant off at an Arizona church. He described them as a "cult" and a "nomadic religious group."

He said:

“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.”

Webster said the group had been spotted several times across the South West.

He said:

“There were sightings of this religious group around the Yuma area in the early 80’s.”

As of now, the religious group remains suspects in the murders, but authorities have not revealed any developments in the investigation. It was only opened after the identities of the two bodies from the Texas cold case were revealed by modern technology.

A family reunited

After Holly Marie Clouse was discovered in Oklahoma, she attended a large virtual Zoom Call with family members. She learned that the day she had been told about her family, June 7, also happened to be Dean Clouse's birthday.

In a family statement, Casasanta said:

“Finding Holly is a birthday present from heaven since we found her on Junior’s (Dean’s) birthday. I prayed more than 40 years for answers and the Lord has revealed some of it.”

Holly's aunt Cheryl Clouse, according to E Online, also spoke with local media about her joy following the former's discovery.

She said:

"It was so exciting to see Holly. I was so happy to meet her for the first time. It is such a blessing to be reassured that she is alright and has had a good life. The whole family slept well last night."

As of now, the cold case is still being probed. The family who adopted Holly Marie Clouse is not a suspect, according to Webster.

Edited by Babylona Bora