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True crime podcast unearths new details in 41-year-old cold case

True crime podcast unearths new details in 41-year-old cold case

The bodies of Dean and Tina Clouse were identified last year - four decades since their deaths - but many questions still remain

A new true crime podcast that delves into the mystery of a double murder in Texas has unveiled new details in the 41-year-old cold case.

In 1981, the remains of a young couple were found in a woodland area on the outskirts of Houston, after a dog emerged with a partially decomposed human arm.

The victims remained unidentified until 2021 when a team of genetic genealogists named them as Harold ‘Dean’ Clouse and his wife Tina, who had moved to Texas from Florida for work.

But once the team found out who the victims were, they also discovered they had been parents to a 10-month-old baby at the time of their death – who would have been aged 42 today.

The mysterious case has been explored in a new Fox News podcast series called What About Holly?, which details how Dean, 21, and Tina, 17, had left Florida with their infant daughter Holly in 1980.

In October that year, Tina sent a letter to Dean’s mother Donna Casasanta along with photos of Holly standing upright and pushing her walker.

Harold 'Dean Clouse and wife Tina.
Clouse family

Around three months later, Donna claims she received a phone call from an unknown man telling her the car she had lent her son had been found abandoned in a Los Angeles suburb, before three women in white robes returned the vehicle to her – one of whom identifying herself as ‘Sister Susan’, telling the confused mother that Dean had ‘joined a group’ and was cutting contact with family.

Speaking anonymously in the podcast, Sister Susan said the group rose to prominence in the 1970s, but had no involvement in the Clouses’ 1981 death.

The woman, who was a member of nomadic religious group Christ Family, was questioned by investigators in connection with the case, but has not been named as a suspect or been implicated in any wrongdoing.

She also denied the exchange with Donna took place.

Tina, Dean and Holly.
Identifiers International

"We lived a life of non-violence," Sister Susan said.

"For people to accuse us of being a part of their murder, that's not real. That's not true at all."

After Dean and Tina’s decomposing bodies were found in the woods, investigators found that the female victim had been strangled, while the male had been beaten to death, and their deaths were ruled homicides.

Their bodies were exhumed by forensic anthropologists in 2011 as part of a project to identify murder victims, but it wasn't until October 2021 that genetic genealogists finally found answers, and the case was reopened.

In 2022, First Assistant Attorney General Brent Webster announced at a news conference that the Clouses’ daughter Holly had been found alive and well in Oklahoma, saying two women who were part of a ‘nomadic religious group’ had dropped the youngster off at a church in Yuma, Arizona, in late 1980, before she was raised by a pastor.

Holly Clouse was found alive and well earlier this year.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

No suspects have been named by the Texas Attorney General’s Office in connection with the crime, with Mindy Montford, a senior counsel of the Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit of the Texas Attorney General’s Office, noting how the Christ Family were one of many such religious groups prevalent at the time, adding that they ‘didn’t condone any sort of violence’.

She said: “At this point, we are looking into these groups only because we believe that – just as in any case – you want to talk to the last people that your victims were seen with.”

Featured Image Credit: Fox New/Clouse family

Topics: US News, True crime