How “Baby Holly” Was Found Alive And Reunited With Her Family 40 Years Later

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What started as a story about loss, tragedy, and evil actions turned out to be about hope, determination, and the will of good people. Baby Holly and her family experienced the worst humans can do to each other when an unknown suspect murdered Holly’s parents and kidnapped her as a baby.

The rest of the family was left with nothing but confusion, anger, and grief for years wondering what had happened and where the baby had gone. However, they never lost hope. This is how they were reunited.

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Baby Missing Since 1981

Dean and Tina Linn Clouse were a young couple who was delighted to experience the life of new parents. They were just beginning what they thought would be the fulfilling journey of raising their daughter together when tragedy knocked on the door on January 12, 1981. This was the day the baby girl’s life would change forever, all before she even made it to her second birthday.

Holly Marie Clouse in a 1980 photo a few weeks before she and her parents went missing from Lewisville, Texas.
Handout / FHD Forensics
Handout / FHD Forensics

Her parents’ bodies were later found but Holly had disappeared. In fact, she was missing for 40 years. This started a multidecade search for the suspect and the couple’s missing daughter.

There was no way to prepare for this tragedy but the family would not give up on the baby who deserved to grow up around their love. Since then, “the Linn and Clouse families have been searching for answers concerning the welfare of the Clouses and their daughter, Holly, since they were last heard from in 1980,” the Texas Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.

A Re-Opened Cold Case

With no leads on suspects or the child’s whereabouts, the case was closed. In fact, the baby’s parents’ bodies remained unidentified all the way until October 2021 when advanced DNA techniques finally unlocked some answers.

Tina and Harold Clouse with baby Holly in an un
dated photo.Casasanta/Clouse Family
dated photo.Casasanta/Clouse Family

This reopened the Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit with the Texas Attorney General’s Office. Amazingly enough, with the help of three states and combing missing person records, the Clouses’s daughter was located in Oklahoma. She was now a mother of five.

“Baby Holly has been located alive and well and is now 42 years of age. Holly has been notified of the identities of her biological parents and has been in contact with her extended biological family and they hope to meet in person soon.”

Life Changing News

Imagine being in your forties and receiving the news that you were actually reported as a missing child as a baby. While this may seem like upsetting news it was worthwhile to reconnect Holly to her biological family bonds, even if it was almost half a century later.

Located poster of baby grown up
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children / Facebook
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children / Facebook

A member of the Police Department visited Holly’s workplace on June 7, which just happened to coincide with what would’ve been her father’s 63rd birthday, to inform her that she was missing “Baby Holly.” On what seemed like a day of fate, she was reunited with both sides of her family just hours later.

Connecting The Missing Pieces

It took decades to solve Holly’s case, mostly because the technology in the 80s and 90s when the case was first opened was limited, and resources to find missing children were hindered.

Tina and Harold Clouse in an undated photo.
Casasanta/Clouse Family Via ABC News
Casasanta/Clouse Family Via ABC News

However, against all odds, Holly’s family was determined to use every bit of resource accessible to them to find her. With the help of FHD Forensics, they started “the Hope for Holly DNA Project” which held genetic profiles of some of Holly’s family members. This project was what helped connect the missing pieces to locate the missing child.

Upon her return Holly’s aunt added: “The whole family slept well last night. The Hope For Holly Project was a success thanks to the Texas Cold Case Unit. A little hope goes a long way, even in the darkest of times.

Peace For The Living And Dead

The relief the family has felt since finding Holly is unmeasurable, not only for the living members but in honor of Holly’s late parents as well. Sherry Green, Holly’s maternal aunt, explains: “I believe Tina (Holly’s mom) is finally resting in peace knowing Holly is reuniting with her family.”

Donna Casasanta poses in front of a painting showing her late son, Harold Dean Clouse Jr., with Clouse's wife, Tina Gail Linn, and their daughter, Holly Marie Clouse, at Casasanta's Edgewater, Fla., home on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022.
Patrick Connolly/Houston Chronicle via AP
Patrick Connolly/Houston Chronicle via AP

Their hard work and tireless chase for answers have finally paid off: “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,” The family never had given up.

Holly’s grandmother, Donna Casasanta, added: “I was crying for joy because we’ve all been praying that we would find her and she would be okay – and she’d had a family that took care of her and raised her proper … we were very glad for that.”

To the family this relief was like a breath of fresh air that they were holding in for over 40 years: “I hadn’t slept the whole night in 42 years, and that’s the truth.”

Still Holding On To Memories

Holly impressively still knew her parents’ names. Even though she no longer remembered what they looked like, she now is able to hold on to what’s believed to be the last picture they took together as a family in Houston back in 1980 ad cherish it.

The former Holly Marie Clouse with a photo of her parents Dean and Tina Clouse, who were found murdered in Houston in January 1981 moments after meeting Texas investigators.
Handout / FHD Forsensics
Handout / FHD Forsensics

How she survived is a miracle of its own. Following the death of her parents, Baby Holly ended up in the care of a nomadic religious group” that was separated by gender, ate only vegetables, and rejected things made out of leather. However, two women from the religious group, brought Baby Holly to an Arizona church, walking barefoot and wearing white robes. Although a twisted story, from there she was placed in the care of a family who went on to raise her and helped her survive to this day.

There Is Hope In Time

This story shows how determination and hope can bring peace and the desired outcome even if the process takes much longer than desired. You may be far away from your goal and the answers you look for now but as long as you keep your eye on the big picture and remember your “why” all throughout your journey, you will get there. Everything happens in good timing.

woman holding flower between her to hands
Lina Trochez / Unsplash
Lina Trochez / Unsplash

This is a story of the power of hope not only for the relatives of the Clouses, but hope for anyone who may still be waiting on answers.

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Aria Misty

Aria Misty is a recent university grad. She did her undergrad in media, information & technoculture with a Master in Journalism & Communications in 2018.

Aria has a particular interest in all things astrology and spirituality. This is driven by her desire to create healing. In fact, Aria went back to school for A master’s in counseling p[…]