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A baby who went missing after her parents' death over 40 years ago is found alive

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
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.

A baby who disappeared after her parents were found dead in the early 1980s is alive and well.

"Baby Holly's" deceased parents were discovered in the woods in Houston in 1981. In 2021, the bodies were identified as Tina Gail Linn Clouse and Harold Dean Clouse Jr. But their baby, Holly, who is now 42 and an Oklahoma mother of five, was not found with them.

Holly has been notified about the identities of her biological parents and has connected with her extended family, according to a news release Thursday from the Texas Attorney General.

"It was so exciting to see Holly," Cheryl Clouse, Holly's aunt, said in a statement. "I was so happy to meet her for the first time. It is such a blessing to be reassured that she is alright and has had a good life. The whole family slept well last night."

During a press conference Thursday, Brent Webster, First Assistant Attorney General of Texas, told reporters about the ongoing investigation.

"While we rejoice today that Holly has been found and families that were looking for her for decades rejoice, we still are looking for suspects in this case," Webster said.

Webster said two women, who were members of a nomadic religious group, brought Holly to a church in Arizona. Webster did not include details about what happened to Holly after she was left at the church.

The women who left Holly at the church wore white robes and were barefoot, Webster told reporters.

"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," Webster said Thursday.

The group is believed to have traveled to Arizona, California and possibly Texas, Webster said. In the early 1980s, members of the group were seen in Yuma, Ariz., asking for food.

Around late December 1980 0r early January 1981, the families of Holly's parents received a call from someone who identified herself as "Sister Susan." Sister Susan said she was calling from Los Angeles and wanted to return the family's car. She said the couple had joined their religious group and was giving up all of their possessions.

She also said the couple no longer wanted to have contact with their families.

The family contacted local authorities and agreed to meet Sister Susan at the Daytona racetrack, in Florida. The family said they met two or three women, and possibly a man. The women were wearing robes, Webster said, and appeared to be members of the religious group.

Webster said police took the women into custody, but no records have been identified in connection with the incident. Webster said that wasn't unusual given the age of the case.

The families last heard from the couple in October 1980.

Webster urged people to come forward with any information on the case.

The members of Holly's extended family are relieved that Holly has been found.

"I believe Tina's finally resting in peace knowing Holly is reuniting with her family," said Sherry Linn Green, Holly's aunt. "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."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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