Baby Holly’s aunt is now open about their “miraculous” reunion, 40 years after Holly was murdered by her parents in the woods. She was taken captive by a cult and then left at a church. 

Cheryl Clouse, in an exclusive interview with revealed that Holly’s brother joined a Christian cult when she was a teenager. He left two weeks later and returned to Holly’s home “barefoot” and dressed in a robe. 

Holly Clouse is the daughter Tina Gail Linn and Harold Dean Clouse, who were a young married couple. They moved from Florida to Texas in 1980 when Holly was just one year old. Cheryl believed for many decades that the couple had been off-grid and associated with a religious community. The couple was murdered 40 years ago, and their bodies found in Houston woods. They discovered this last year. 

This was the result of genetic genealogy research by scientists trying to find a couple called ‘The Houston Does.’ Their bodies were discovered by a dog in 1981. 

Holly was kidnapped by white-robed women traveling as religious groups while her parents were killed. The couple dropped Holly off at an Arizona church, leaving her unharmed. She was then adopted by a family and discovered that her parents had brutally murdered her. 

Cheryl, a Alabama-based nurse of 62 years, spoke this weekend about the day she learned that her beloved brother Junior had died. She also shared her shock at finding out his daughter might still be living. 

“It was an unbelievable miracle to have found her. Our entire family feels so relieved and happy. Our hearts are still healing but we’re so, so happy that we found her. She is still alive and has a family. She was not affected by anything. Hallelujah, Amen, Holly!’ she exclaimed. 

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'Baby Holly' as an adult after being tracked down last week in Oklahoma

Cheryl Clouse, 62, spoke with about finding her niece after 40 years

“Baby Holly” is number 42 and lives in Oklahoma. The photo she holds is of her parents taken just a few days before their murder in 1980. Cheryl Clouse is her aunt. She spoke to about their emotional reunion and what they hope to do now in order find the cultist killers who tore the family apart. 

Their first Zoom call together as a family was this week. Cheryl hopes to see them in person someday. 

It was very exciting. It was stressful. I was anxious, my heart raced. It was wonderful to see her. We all played turns at telling her who we were. 

‘Mom went first saying she’s her grandma. It was thrilling to speak to her and to see her.

She looks just like her mother. Her nose, mouth, lips and smile are all the same. Then, when she spoke, I thought it was Tina. It’s very exciting. 

“Our dream is for Holly to come to our home and allow us to spend time with her, love and support her. We are here to show her love, because she is in desperate need of it. 

. Our hearts are still healing but we’re so, so happy that we found her. She is still alive and has a family. She was not affected by anything. We have Holly! Hallelujah, Amen and Hallelujah 

Family members are hopeful that Dean’s and Tina’s murderers will be caught and brought to justice. 

‘There’s a very good chance these people may still be alive. That’s my prayer. Perhaps not all are, but there is at least one of them. That justice will be done’ she stated.

The hope of the family that they could still be here was fuelled for many years by an enigmatic 1981 conversation with Sister Susan from a cult. It occurred several months after their last contact. 

Cheryl and Dean were called by Susan from California. She told Cheryl that their cars had been sold to cult members and they no longer required them. In exchange for $1,000 she offered to take it home to Florida, but they wouldn’t hear from Tina or Dean again. 

Because Dean had not been in a religious group before, they believed Tina. He’d gone missing for several weeks years prior to marrying Tina. 

Harold Dean Clouse and Tina Gail Linn met as teenagers. They got married when Tina was 15 and pregnant with Holly, then moved to Texas before she was one so that Dean could get a better-paying carpenter job. Cheryl says they were both 'sweet', kind' but too trusting of strangers

Tina Gail Linn, Tina Dean Clouse, and Harold Dean Clouse were both teenagers. Tina Gail Linn was just 15 when she married Tina. Holly was born to them. Dean moved to Texas as soon as Holly was one, so Dean could find a more lucrative job in the carpenter trade. Cheryl describes them as’sweet, kind, and trusting’ of strangers.

Holly is shown as a baby, aged 10 months, in one of the last photos that Tina sent to the Clouse family before she was murdered

Holly as a newborn, 10 months old in the final Tina Clouse photos, before Tina was killed

‘There were some times as a young adult when he’d go off for days. 

‘I can’t remember how long he was gone when he was a teenager and had been connected with these cult members but I do vividly remember when he came home because I was outside at the house in Florida.

 He didn’t talk a lot about it, he just said it was a group that was learning about Jesus and faith and something that he wanted to research. He never told me the reason he left. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been. They travelled around, they’d get their food begging… He was only 15 or 16 years old when he returned home. He was just 15-16 years old.

Cheryl Clouse discusses her brother’s participation in a cult when she was a teenager  

‘I looked down the street and I couldn’t tell it was him until he got closer to me. The young man was wearing a long, robe and walking. He seemed to be barefoot, or had sandals.  

‘As he got closer I realized “oh my gosh that’s Junior!” I went yelling for him and he came back. 

“I was surprised, and kind of shocked that he would just jump on board and join that group. He didn’t talk a lot about it, he just said it was a group that was learning about Jesus and faith and something that he wanted to research.

“He didn’t explain to me the reason he left. It would have been difficult, I’m sure. They travelled around, they’d get their food begging… He was happy to bring me home. She said that he was just 15-16 years old, so he was still young. However, he loved helping others and adventure. He also trusted people. 

Cheryl shared a story about Dean’s teenage years, when he invited three homeless and untrained cult members to their home. 

“My mother was upset upon her return from work.

“It was both a man, a woman, and a baby. My brother was shocked at their appearance and said, “Mom, it’s okay. They’re just trying to make ends meet.” Give them peanut butter sandwiches, and they will be well on their way. They left, so she gave them peanut butter sandwiches. 

Cheryl is convinced that Tina and her brother Tina were too trusting in strangers. Tina was close to the family. 

After being approached on the streets by some members of the cult, she says that her brother got involved in the cult. 

Dean (top center) was eight when this photo was taken a year after his father died in 1967. Cheryl (bottom left) was a year younger. Their mother Donna (right) raised five of them alone after her husband died from organ failure caused by lupus. She remarried later and had another child

Dean, top center was 8 years old when the photo was taken one year after his father’s death in 1967. Cheryl, bottom left was one year older. Donna, their mother (right), was the sole caregiver for five children after Donna’s husband passed away from complications of lupus. Later, she remarried and had another child. 

Dean is shown, center, as a teenager. His sister says he took on a protector role after the death of his father and 'stepped up' to look after the women in the family before joining a cult when he was 15. He returned home one day after having disappeared for weeks and was 'barefoot'

Dean, shown in the middle, is a young boy. According to his sister, he assumed a protective role following the death of the father. He’stepped up and looked after the wives in the household’ before joining a sect at the age of 15. After being absent for several weeks, he returned to his home the next day and was “barefoot”. 

After Tina’s shotgun marriage, Dean and Holly moved to Texas in 1980. Dean, a carpenter was offered a more lucrative job. Holly was just eight months of age at that time. The letters ended in October 1980 after they had stopped communicating for the first few months.

Tina sent photos and wrote my mother a note. Her age was 10 months. 

‘They lived with an uncle on my father’s side then they had an apartment in Leesville. We were all very worried [when the contact] stopped and wondering why there were no more letters… there was a lot of concern. They weren’t calling or writing or anything.

Cheryl cried as she told of the 'shattering' moment she learned her brother had been murdered. She held out hope for 40 years that he was alive and would come home

Cheryl broke down as she shared with the “shattering” moment when she found out her brother had been killed. For 40 years, she hoped that he would be alive when he returned home. 

They had lost contact with the uncle since they moved in to their new apartment. Mom never got any calls from the uncle saying he hadn’t seen them… after time went by of course we became more and more concerned. 

“My mom attempted to get someone to check his social security numbers every year to find out if they were ever used. 

Her mother was called by Sister Susan in 1981 to offer the car back. 

‘She said she had Dean and Tina’s car, and would return it to Florida. They are their family now and she claimed they have joined their cult. We were not allowed to talk to them. They had given up their worldly possessions and can’t speak to us ever again. 

My mother made arrangements for them to take the car. She was also suspicious of her boyfriend. They offered $1,000 for the vehicle’s return. The meeting was arranged and then the boyfriend called 911. They were there that night. 

The police officer interviewed the members of the cult but was forced to release them because she didn’t believe there was anything to be suspicious. 

Susan said she looked no older than 30 and had two younger sisters. 

‘They didn’t suspect any foul play at that time so there was no reason to keep them.’

The family hoped that they would find them all alive for the following 40 years. Their bodies weren’t identified until last year, when they realized that Dean and Tina had both been dead for decades.

‘He had joined [a cult]Before, though, we believed that this could be real. They were always out there and would return to their father as he did every time. When we were told they were identified… that hope was shattered. It’s still hard. Everyone is still trying to heal. It was so brutal. 

Dean's mother Donna shown visiting where his body was found in woods in Texas

Dean's mother Donna visiting his grave in Texas last year

Dean’s mother Donna is shown visiting where his body was found in woods in Texas (left) and visiting his grave in Texas last year (right). Each year, for 40 years, her mother would call the authorities in hopes that Dean was still alive. 

Medical examiners had previously studied the bodies when they were unidentified determined that Dean had been beaten to death and Tina had been strangled.  

Cheryl stated that she was shocked to learn of the deaths of her brother and sister in law. 

Tina (above) was 'sweet, soft and gentle' said Cheryl. She says her daughter looks like her and sounds like her

Cheryl said Tina was “sweet, soft and kind” (above). According to her, her daughter is very similar to her. 

“We had always hoped that she would be alive, but we always thought in our hearts, “What if someone stole her?” That’s the big thing. The theft of babies is a constant problem. Back then, it was simpler to adopt a baby or sell them on the black market. 

We always kept our fingers crossed that she would be alive someday. 

With the assistance of Identifinders International, and Family History Detectives, the Texas Attorney General’s Office began an investigation into the matter. 

They were led to Holly who now lives in Oklahoma with her family. 

Cheryl told that she knew her birth mother was an adoptee. However, Cheryl is overwhelmed by the harsh reality of her biological parents’ deaths. 

‘We’ve had eight months digesting how Dean and Tina passed. We’ve had time for that and she hasn’t. 

“They came into her workplace and revealed who they were to her.” She knew she had been adopted… she needs time and the family wants to honor that,’ she said. 

Texas Attorney General’s Office Cold Case Unit continue to investigate the matter. We don’t know how many tips were received since Holly was discovered earlier in the week. 

At a press conference earlier this week, First Assistant Attorney General Brent Webster revealed that the women who dropped Holly off at the church didn’t believe in men and women living together. 

He stated that the parents also mentioned dropping off another child at a laundry facility. 

Webster explained that the beliefs of this religion were to separate male and female members. Webster also stated that they believed vegetarianism was a good practice and no need for leather goods. 

Now investigators are interested in finding out whether other infants were abducted and/or killed by the parents. 

The investigation into the murders of Holly’s biological parents, Tina and Dean Clouse, is ongoing and, if anyone has information about their deaths, please contact the Texas Attorney General’s Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit at