(NEW YORK) — More than four decades ago, an unidentified couple was found beaten and strangled in a wooded area in Houston. Although their remains were later found, questions remained about the couple’s baby daughter — what happened to Baby Holly?
After years of searching, the baby was finally reunited with her biological family — now as a 42-year-old woman.
In an embrace over 40 years in the making, Holly Miller hugged her grandmother Donna Casasanta, her aunt Debbie Brooks and her aunt Tess Welch, among other extended family members, for the first time. The bittersweet moment was captured exclusively by ABC News.
“I love you… Thank you for all your prayers,” Miller said. “God kept me safe and protected all these years, and I just wanted you to know that.”
Miller’s grandmother repeated three words she told herself often over the years: “Never give up.”
Following an investigation, the 1981 murder case of the unidentified couple went cold and the identities of the victims remained a mystery until a break came last year. Forensic genealogy was able to positively identify the couple as Tina Gail Linn Clouse and Harold Dean Clouse Jr., according to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Once the bodies were identified, authorities discovered the couple had a baby daughter, who also went missing that night. The couple’s family and authorities began to search for “Baby Holly.”
Sometime after her parent’s murder, authorities discovered that Baby Holly was left at a church in Arizona, where she was later adopted by her adoptive parents, who are not suspects in the murder of her biological parents.
After the family of Tina and Harold Clouse were notified of their murder, they told authorities they hadn’t heard from the couple since October 1980, and wanted to know what happened to their baby daughter. Soon they had their answer, Baby Holly was identified as 42-year-old Holly Miller, a mother of five living in Oklahoma.
“I am so wonderfully blessed to have a loving, faithful family to embrace as we meet again after 41 years. My heart is overwhelmed with joy and sadness. Joy to get to know my parents’ family who have been praying and searching for me,” Holly Miller told ABC News in a statement. “Sadness for our loss of my parents and the time we could have shared together. I am hopeful for many more gatherings with my newfound family to embrace one another and share memories together.”
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