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A missing child who was found alive after more than 40 years is said to have been left at a church by members of a 'nomadic religious group'.
Holly Marie Clouse was found alive and well in Oklahoma this week following the tragic murder of her parents, Harold Dean Clouse and Tina Linn, who were found dead in a wooded area in Houston in January 1981.
It wasn't until 42 years after the family first went missing that Dean and Tina were identified, and on Tuesday (7 June) investigators from the Texas Attorney General’s office walked into Holly’s workplace and told her who she was.
BREAKING: Attorney General Paxton's Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit Locates Woman Who has Been Missing for Over 40 yearshttps://t.co/jPBvtwMc1j— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) June 9, 2022
There had been no sign of Holly at the crime scene, and it emerged that she had been left at a church in Arizona by two women who were barefoot and wearing white robes, according to First Assistant Attorney General Brent Webster, per The Houston Chronicle.
A few months after Dean and Tina's disappearance, Holly's grandmother, Donna Casasanta, received a call from someone who said he was in California and had her car, which Dean had borrowed to move to Texas. The caller asked if Casasanta would pay them to bring the car back to her in Florida, to which the grandmother agreed.
Casasanta was met by three women dressed in white robes who told her Dean had joined a cult, renounced his worldly possessions and wanted nothing to do with his family or his past.
In a press conference announcing the news of Holly's discovery, Webster said police took the women into custody but there was 'no record of a police report on file'.
Webster did not reveal the church at which Holly had been left at, but said the women identified themselves as 'members of a nomadic religious group' whose the beliefs 'included the separation of male and female members, practicing vegetarian habits and not using or wearing leather goods'.
#BREAKING Holly Marie Clouse has been found alive and well. Her family is overjoyed. Thank you to the @TXAG new #ColdCase Unit for reuniting her with her family. Learn more on Facebook on the #WhereisHollyMarie page. #NCMEC #missing #genealogy4justice pic.twitter.com/DLZJjciRNu— Allison Peacock (@Allison_Peacock) June 9, 2022
The women also claimed to have previously 'given up a baby before at a laundromat'.
Investigators working on the case have expressed belief the women belonged to a group which travelled around southwestern United States, including Arizona, California and possibly Texas. They had been spotted around Yuma, Arizona in the early 1980s, where they were heard asking locals for food.
Holly, who is now 42, ended up being adopted and went on to live in Oklahoma and has a husband of more than 20 years. She has five children and two grandchildren, and Casasanta described her reunion with her granddaughter as a 'birthday present from heaven'.
It remains unclear exactly who the women involved were.
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