Holly Marie Clouse, whose parents were found dead in the woods over 40 years ago, was amazingly found alive after a DNA breakthrough on her father’s birthday
The missing baby of a newly married couple who was murdered and abandoned in the woods over 40 years ago has been found alive.
Harold Dean Clouse and Tina Gail Clouse, who were brutally killed at the ages of 21 and 17, were moving from Florida to Texas in 1980 when they went missing.
Their bodies were found in Houston woods on January 12, 1981, with Harold reportedly beaten, bound and gagged and Tina strangled.
However, their baby daughter, Holly Marie Clouse, has not been found.
Although the case went cold, detectives still believed the child might be alive. Amazingly, she has now been tracked down in Oklahoma after four decades.
Family history investigators found the now mother of five and police showed up at her workplace on Tuesday (June 7).
The day the police found her would have been her father’s 63rd birthday.
According to the Texas Attorney General’s Office, Holly spoke to her birth family and now hopes to meet them in person.
It remains unclear what happened to baby Holly during and after her parents’ murder, although a police press conference is scheduled for later today.
The identities of the murdered couple actually remained unknown until last year, when DNA linked them to family members in Kentucky.
Volusia County Sheriff’s Office Detective Steve Wheeler told KHOU, “It’s one of the most meaningful things I’ve ever been a part of. It is a once-in-a-lifetime thing to play even a small part in reuniting a family after 40 years.”
Donna Casasanta, Holly’s grandmother, said, “Finding Holly is a godsend for her birthday because we found her on Junior’s birthday. I’ve been praying for answers for more than 40 years and the Lord has revealed some of it…we found Holly.
“Thanks to all the investigators who worked so hard to find Holly. I prayed for her every day and that she would find Holly and be okay.”
It’s not yet clear how Holly was tracked down or if she knew who her parents were.
The search, dubbed the Hope for Holly Project, began after her parents’ identities were confirmed last year. It has involved law enforcement officers in Texas, Florida and Arizona.
Holly’s aunt Cheryl Clouse 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. The whole family slept well, last night.”
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Harold and Tina disappeared a year after their wedding.
Their car was found and relatives believed the couple had joined a religious cult.
However, their bodies were found by dogs in the forest.
No arrests have been made and the murder investigation is ongoing.