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DNA leads Texas investigators to a baby — a now-adult woman — missing for 42 years

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Tina Gail Linn Clouse and Harold “Dean” Clouse Jr. and their daughter, toddler Holly, were reported missing in 1980 shortly after moving to Texas from Florida. The couple’s remains were found about a year later in a wooded area near Houston, but police were unable to identify them at the time.

June 9 (News) — More than four decades after a Florida couple and their child went missing in Texas, investigators have tracked down the now-adult child, the Texas Attorney General’s Office confirmed.

Dean Clouse had been beaten to death while Tina Clouse had been strangled.

Modern DNA technology allowed a group called Identifiers International to use genetic genealogy to identify the remains as those of the Clouses in October 2021. But baby Holly’s remains were not found with her parents, and there was no lead as to her whereabouts.

DNA led investigators to Holly, who is now 42 years old. The details of her parents’ murder and subsequent adoption by another family are unclear.

“I am very proud of the extraordinary work done by my office’s newly formed Uncovered Cases and Missing Persons Division,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Wednesday. “My office has been working diligently across state lines to unravel the mystery of Holly’s disappearance. We have been successful in our efforts to locate her and reunite her with her birth family.”

Holly’s biological grandmother, Donna Casasanta, said she was told her granddaughter was found on Dean Clouse’s birthday.

“Thanks to all the investigators who worked so hard to find Holly. I prayed for her day after day and that she would find Holly and be okay,” Casasanta said. “It was so exciting to see Holly. I was so happy to meet her for the first time. It’s such a blessing to have peace of mind that she’s fine and has had a good life.”

Paxton’s office said an investigation into the Clouses’ deaths was underway.

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