A woman who vanished as an infant when her parents were murdered in Texas in 1980 has been found alive more than 40 years later.
The youngster, who was known as “Baby Holly” vanished after Tina Gail Linn Clouse and Harold Dean Clouse Jr were found slain in a wooded area of Houston.
Now the 42-year-old woman, who is still called Holly, has been identified using DNA technology and was recently reunited with her family, according to officials.
Investigators found Holly, who was adopted by a couple, at her workplace earlier this week and told her of her identity, and hours later she was on a Zoom call with her biological grandmother and aunts and uncles.
Holly Marie Clouse and her parents Tina, 17, and Harold, 21, disappeared in Texas in 1980 after moving to the state from Florida.
Investigators found remains of the murdered couple in 1981, but their identities remained a mystery until 2021 their bodies were exhumed and identified using genetic genealogy done by Identifinders International.
Dean, who was a carpenter, was beaten to death, while Tina had been strangled.
Holly’s biological paternal grandmother, Donna Casasanta, said that she had been located on the birthday of her murdered son, and called it “a birthday present from heaven.”
“I prayed for more than 40 years for answers and the Lord has revealed some of it… we have found Holly,” Ms Casasanta said.
Her aunt, Sherry Linn Green, welcomed being reunited with Holly.
“After finally being able to reunite with Holly, I dreamed about her and my sister, Tina last night,” she said in a statement.
“In my dream, Tina was laying on the floor rolling around and laughing and playing with Holly like I saw them do many times before when they lived with me prior to moving to Texas.
“I believe Tina’s finally resting in peace knowing Holly is reuniting with her family. I personally am so relieved to know Holly is alive and well and was well cared for, but also torn up by it all. That baby was her life.”
Officials have not released details on how they found Holly, how she survived the murder or how she came to be adopted.
The discovery of Holly was announced on Thursday by the Texas Attorney General’s office.
“I am extremely proud of the exceptional work done by my office’s newly formed Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.
“My office diligently worked across state lines to uncover the mystery surrounding Holly’s disappearance. We were successful in our efforts to locate her and reunite her with her biological family.”
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children thanked law enforcement for its working in solving the mystery of Holly’s identity.
“At the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, we know that with advancements in technology and the hard work and dedication of law enforcement, we can get answers, even after four decades,” said John Bischoff, vice president of the Missing Children Division at NCMEC.
“We are thrilled that Holly will now have the chance to connect with her biological family who has been searching for her for so long. We hope that this is source of encouragement for other families who have missing loved ones and reminds us all to never give up.
“NCMEC applauds the collaborative effort of the Texas Attorney General’s Office Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit, the Lewisville Police Department and all the assisting agencies who came together to make today’s news possible.”