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Couple murdered in Houston in 1981 identified; daughter, now 41, still missing

Harold Dean Clouse, 21, and his wife, Tina Gail Clouse, 17, vanished after they left their home in Florida for Texas.
Tina Gail Linn, Hollie Marie Clouse and Harold Dean Clouse.
Tina Gail Linn, Hollie Marie Clouse and Harold Dean Clouse. Identifinders International

A couple found murdered in Houston in 1981 have finally been identified, but a mystery remains about the whereabouts of their daughter.

The couple, Harold Dean Clouse, 21, and Tina Gail Clouse, 17, vanished after they left their home in Volusia County, Florida, for Texas, Identifinders International, a California-based organization that performs genetic genealogy for law enforcement, said in a news release.

The couple, who had their 1-year-old daughter, Hollie Marie Clouse, with them, left Florida so Harold Clouse could pursue carpentry work.

In January 1981, a dog came upon the couple's remains in some woods in Houston.

Harold Clouse had been beaten, bound and gagged. Tina Clouse had been strangled. At the time, their identities were a mystery.

No one has ever been arrested in their deaths.

The news release said the couple's family had been made to believe that the couple had joined a religious group and did not want to be contacted.

A baby was not found with the remains, and no Baby Doe cases have surfaced that match Hollie's description.

The Clouses' bodies were exhumed to extract DNA in July 2011. Last year, there was a major break in the case when their identities were uncovered with the help of Identifinders senior forensic genealogist Misty Gillis and Allison Peacock, a forensic genetic genealogist.

“I'm very thankful to have been given the opportunity to work on this case. It was a difficult case emotionally,” Gillis said in a statement.

Harold Clouse's mother told KHOU-TV of Houston that for the past four decades, she had wondered whether her son was still alive.

"I was on the freeway once, and this young man passed me, and it looked so much like my [son]," she told the station. "I used to tell myself he's still out there somewhere. And he'll ring the doorbell and say, 'Hey, Mom.'"

Now, the family is focused on trying to find out what happened to Hollie.

If Hollie is still alive, she would be 41. Identifinders International said she would most likely not be aware of her identity. Peacock is working with Family History Detectives in hope of finding out what happened to her.