Murdered newlyweds and a missing baby
Tina Gail Linn Clouse and Harold Dean Clouse Jr. were newlyweds when they were found dead in the woods in Houston in the early 80s. They had a baby with them but she was nowhere to be found and was classified missing for decades.
The couple’s remains were unidentified until last year when DNA was extracted by a cold case investigative organisation, Identifinders International. They used genealogy to positively identify the pair.
On Thursday 9 June, the Texas Attorney General's Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit announced that they had found 'Baby Holly,' a 42-year-old Oklahoma woman, Holly Marie Clouse.
A 'nomadic religious group' or 'cult'
First Assistant Attorney General Brent Webster revealed a pair of women 'who identified themselves as members of a nomadic religious group' left the baby 'in a church in Arizona and was taken into their care.' He said, as reported by Sky News:
They were wearing white robes and were barefoot. 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 women indicated they had given up a baby before at a laundromat.
'Baby Holly' was then adopted and raised by a family.
New York Post describes the religious group as a 'cult,' who apparently contacted the family of the dead parents in the early 80s. Webster said:
The families of Tina Linn Clouse and Harold Dean Clouse received a phone call from someone identifying herself as ‘Sister Susan,’ who... wanted to return Tina and Dean’s car to their family. She further stated that Tina and Dean had joined their religious group and were no longer wanting to have contact with their families. They were also giving up all of their possessions. Sister Susan asked for money in exchange for returning the car to Florida where the family lived.
The family agreed to meet Sister Susan and informed local police about the meeting. Webster said:
The family described meeting two different women and possibly one male, and once again, these women were wearing robes and appeared to be members of this religious group. The police reportedly took the women into custody, but there’s no record of a police report on file that had been found as of yet. Given the age of this case, that is common. We’re still on the hunt for that police report.
It's unclear how 'Baby Holly' got into the hands of the religious group after the murder, which remains unsolved. The investigation is ongoing.