A newlywed couple who were murdered and dumped 40 years ago in the woods in Houston have finally been identified.
Harold Dean Clouse, 21, and Tina Gail Clouse, 17, were found dead on January 12, 1981, in a wooded area in Houston, Texas, but at the time, police were unable to determine the identities of the bodies.
Family history detectives have now launched a search for the Clouses’ missing daughter, Holly Marie, who was one when they disappeared, in the hopes she’s still alive.
The Clouses, who married in 1979, disappeared in late 1980 after leaving their home in Volusia County, Florida, for Texas so that Harold could work as a carpenter.
The couple’s car was returned to their family after they disappeared, and relatives were led to believe the newlyweds had joined a religious sect and no longer wanted to be contacted.
Their bodies were found two months later by dogs off Wallisville Road, Houston. Harold had been beaten, bound and gagged, while Tina was strangled, but their daughter’s remains were not found at the scene. She would be 41 now if she was still alive.
No arrests have ever been made in the case.
Harold Dean Clouse, 21, and Tina Gail (Linn) Clouse, 17, (pictured with their one-year-old daughter Holly Marie) were found dead in a wooded area in Houston, Texas, in January 1981 — at the time, their identities were unknown.
Family history detectives have now launched a search for the Clouse’s missing daughter, Holly Marie, (pictured) who would now be 41, in the hopes she’s still alive
Harris County forensic artist Mary Mize at the time drew pastel-colored reconstructions of the couple after their bodies were found, but no one could identify the couple because they had only recently moved to Houston.
The Clouses’ bodies had been exhumed in July 2011 to verify that the couple were related.
But a big break came in the 40-year-old case in 2021, when forensic scientists Misty Gillis and Allison Peacock were approached by Indentifinders International and handed over the baffling puzzle.
The team added new information to GEDmatch.com, according to KHOU-11, and were able to match the Harold Clouse’s DNA to his cousins in Kentucky.
“It really only took a few hours to get a good sense of who these people were,” Peacock said.
She then contacted the Clouse’s sister, Debbie Brooks, and asked if a family member had long since disappeared.
Harris County forensic artist Mary Mize drew pastel-colored reconstructions of Harold (left, in his youth) and Tina (right, in her youth) Clouse in January 1981 after their bodies were found, but no one could identify the couple because they had only recently moved. to Houston
Brooks said, “[Peacock] said, “We found him. He was killed.” I asked how he was killed, but she didn’t tell me then. But she said, “They found his body in January 1981.”
The family was able to tell Peacock and Gillis that Harold Clouse was married, leading to the identification of the second body, his wife Tina Clouse.
Brooks then asked the team if they had found the baby, but the scientists were unaware that Holly Marie, who was last seen in Lewisville, Texas, existed. The discrepancy has led to a renewed search for the child, who, if alive, will probably not know her true parentage.
“Finding Hollie is the last piece of the puzzle, the last piece of my brother and Tina. It means everything to us to find her,” Brooks said USA today.
Harold’s mother Donna Casasanta said, ‘I will never forget my son and his Tina, I went through years of pain wondering where they were. Now I can only keep praying that one day God will show me my granddaughter.”
Gillis said: ‘I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work on this case. It was emotionally difficult.’
dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick, President of Identifinders International said: “We are delighted that the Forensic Science Institute has placed its trust in us and that we have been able to close the Clouse and Linn families. We thank audiochuck for their generous support in funding the work on this cause.”
Scientists have not found Holly Marie’s body (pictured) with her parents, sparking a renewed search for the Clouse’s daughter, who was last seen in Lewisville, Texas.