The infant had been dropped off at a church in Arizona by two women who identified themselves as members of a nomadic religious group.
It's been more than 40 years since Donna Casasanta lost her son and his wife. The young couple from Lewisville, Texas, were murdered in late 1980 or early 1981 and their bodies were found in the woods. Their 1-year-old daughter, Holly Marie Clouse, has been missing ever since. Many presumed her to be dead but Casasanta and the family never stopped searching for her. Now, authorities have revealed that "Baby Holly" did survive and has been found alive at the age of 42. "Baby Holly has been located alive and well," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced on Thursday, reported TODAY. Holly recently made contact with her biological family virtually and, thanks to the help from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, they are expected to meet in person. "I prayed for more than 40 years for answers and the Lord has revealed some of it," said Holly's grandmother, Donna Casasanta. "We have found Holly.”
"It was so exciting to see Holly. I was so happy to meet her for the first time," said Holly's aunt, Cheryl Clouse. "It is such a blessing to be reassured that she is all right and has had a good life. The whole family slept well last night." The bodies of Harold Dean Clouse Jr. and Tina Gail Linn Clouse were found in 1981 but could not be identified at the time. Authorities identified them using genetic testing in 2021. Baby Holly wasn't found near the bodies, leaving many to wonder what happened to her. The extended family never stopped searching for them, having last communicated with them in October 1980.
First Assistant Attorney General Brent Webster said that the infant had been dropped off at a church in Arizona by two women who identified themselves as members of a nomadic religious group. Tina and Harold's families received a call in 1980 or 1981 from a person claiming to be "Sister Susan" in Los Angeles. She told them Harold and Tina had joined their religious group and "no longer wanted to have contact" with them. Susan then offered to return the couple's car, which belonged to Harold's mother, to his family for a fee. The family agreed to meet at the Daytona International Speedway race track and informed the cops of the same. Members of the group who were in robes were taken into custody but no police report on the incident can be found.
The authorities are now investigating the role of a "nomadic religious group" in the murder case. "They were wearing white robes and they were barefoot," said Webster. "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." The group is believed to have traveled through California, Texas and Arizona and Yuma, with women members of the group asking people for food in the early 1980s.
BREAKING: Attorney General Paxton's Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit Locates Woman Who has Been Missing for Over 40 yearshttps://t.co/jPBvtwMc1j— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) June 9, 2022
Webster is now urging members of the public to volunteer with any information they might have. "If you have any information regarding these murders, we ask that you come forward," said Webster. "We wish Holly the best, we're grateful that we found her, but we must continue with our purpose of finding who murdered this couple." It was another couple that raised Holly. Webster revealed that the family that brought up Holly weren't suspects in the case and added that Holly had a nice upbringing. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has urged the public and media to give Holly space to process and navigate the new developments in her life. “We request that you give her time and respect her privacy as she processes this very personal news about her biological family,” said the center. “We know that the public is anxious to hear directly from Holly but for now we ask for patience and time.”
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Texas Attorney General’s Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (512) 936-0742.