A baby who vanished when her parents were murdered in 1981 has finally been found — alive.
More than 40 years after her mother and father were found strangled and beaten to death in a wooded area in Houston, Texas, the now-42-year-old "Baby Holly" has been located in Oklahoma — married with children and grandchildren of her own.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton made the stunning update to the decades-old cold case on Thursday.
The bodies of Holly's parents, Tina Gail Linn Clouse and Harold Dean Clouse Jr., were only identified last year through genetic genealogy, which brought some closure to the families. But the fact that the infant daughter's body was never found has tormented them... until this week.
"Finding Holly is a birthday present from heaven since we found her on Junior's birthday. I prayed for more than 40 years for answers and the Lord has revealed some of it... we have found Holly," Harold's mother Donna Casasanta told a news conference.
"Thank you to all of the investigators for working so hard to find Holly. I prayed for them day after day and that they would find Holly and she would be alright," the grandmother added.
"It was so exciting to see Holly. 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."
Holly and her parents had not been heard from since 1980, after they borrowed Harold's mom's sedan to move from their New Smyrna home in Florida to the promise of a better paying job in Dallas.
Harold wrote to his mom for a time, but in October of that year she received would be his final ever letter, and never heard from them again.
The only clue she had to the disappearance was a mysterious phonecall she received months later from a person who said they had her car in California, offering to bring it back in exchange for money. Donna agreed to meet them at the Daytona Speedtrack late at night, but tipped off police first.
There she met three women dressed in white robes, the leader of whom — "Sister Susan" — told Donna her son had joined a cult and wanted to renounce all his worldly possessions, and wanted to cut himself off from his family and his past.
Recounting the bizarre tale at a press conference Thursday, per the Houston Chronicle, First Assistant Attorney General Brent Webster said police reportedly took the women into custody at the time — but there was no record of it on file. He said this wasn't entirely unusual for the era, and the report is still being sought.
It was January 6 of 1981 when the couples' remains were first unearthed, by a German Shepard who returned to his Harris County home with a decomposing human arm in his mouth. A week later, investigators found the rest of the bodies; him beaten to death, her strangled. They had been deceased for some time.
The remains would not be positively identified until 2021. During that whole time, the family had no idea if the trio were dead, or were indeed living in a cult somewhere, as Sister Susan had claimed.
It wasn't until Tuesday of this week did Holly learn who she truly was, when investigators from the Texas Attorney General's walked into her workplace and told her — on what would have been her biological father's 63rd birthday.
She spoke to her extended family that day for the very first time, via zoom.
"After finally being able to reunite with Holly, I dreamed about her and my sister, Tina last night," Holly's aunt Sherry Linn Green said. "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."
Holly's uncle Les Linn added: "The very first thing that ran through my head when we heard Holly was found was the call that I got eight months ago from Allison about my sister's death. The juxtaposition of that call with Holly's sudden discovery just popped into my head."
"To go from hoping to find her to suddenly meeting her less than 8 months later — how miraculous is that? All of the detectives involved. They all expressed such fortitude to get to the bottom of this case. They have the Linn family’s complete support."
Baby Holly, her family learned, had been left at a church in Arizona by two barefoot women wearing white robes.
"The beliefs of their religion included the separation of male and female members, practicing vegetarian habits and not using or wearing leather goods," Assistant Attorney General Webster told the conference, adding that the woman had also claimed to have given up another baby at a laundromat.
Holly was later adopted, grew up, married and started a family of her own. She now lives in Oklahoma with her husband of 20 years, and has five children and two infant grandchildren.
The adoptive parents who raised Holly are not suspects in the case.
The investigation into who abducted Holly, and who killed her parents and why, is ongoing.
"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, NCMEC vice president.
"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."