We have this hope as an anchor for the soul
– Hebrews 6:19
On January 14, 1981 the skeletonized remains of a young man and woman were discovered in a densely wooded area off Wallisville Road in Houston, Texas. They had been brutally murdered. With no clues as to their who they were and little to go on, the trail went cold and remained that way for another 40 years. Harris County law enforcement called them ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and when the internet exploded with Doe websites and true crime Wikis, they were soon called ‘The Harris County Does.’
Like so many thousands of other unidentified crime and accident victims in this country, the couples’ identities remained a mystery for decades. The loved ones they left behind, who desperately wanted word of their whereabouts, remained in the dark. Late night Facebook searches, double-takes on the freeway and in the grocery store were all for naught. The young couple had just vanished. Through it all, they prayed that one day they might see them again or at least learn what had happened to them.
In January 2022, on the 41st anniversary of their discovery, the identifications of Harold Dean Clouse, Jr and his wife, the former Tina Gail Linn were announced to the world. Perhaps most shocking of all was the plea from the families about the couple’s infant daughter, Holly Marie. When genealogist Allison Peacock called Dean’s sister to notify her of their identification through the use of investigative genetic genealogy, she was asked, “What about their daughter?”
With the help of FHD Forensics’ and its Hope for Holly DNA Project, the Lewisville Police Department, and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the families soon launched a search for their missing granddaughter and niece. With the utterly miraculous discovery of Holly alive and well in June, 2022, FHD’s Hope For Holly DNA Project became a memorial fund in her parents’ names.
“As the New York Times outlined in their article on this topic in March, the public is being called on to fill the gap for expensive DNA testing,” Peacock explained in a press release about the creation of the fund. “Crowdfunding and philanthropy are doing this right now while governmental agencies try to catch up to the availability of this new, expensive technology.
Genealogy for Justice believes that the public safety crisis of cold cases is a humanitarian effort that deserves our patience and our support. By law, governmental agencies cannot do the stop gap fundraising that is required to bring answers to families waiting for word of their loved ones. They deserve answers just as quickly as we can bring them.
The families of Dean and Tina Clouse now want to help other unidentified crime and accident victims by funding DNA investigations. The families’ greatest desire in the midst of their concurrent joy in finding Holly while grieving anew the loss of Dean and Tina is to bring miracles and closure to other families of John and Jane Does.
The theme of hope has been definitive throughout the journey that Dean and Tina’s families have been on for years. First for word of them, then in finding Holly, and they remain hopeful that those responsible for their deaths will be identified one day. GMA3’s T. J. Holmes said it succinctly when he said, “It gives people hope” when their story was aired on the afternoon show.
“My Junior remained unidentified for more than four decades,” explained Donna Casasanta, Dean’s mother. “We want to pay it forward…be someone else’s miracle.”
This joint mission between Dean and Tina’s families and FHD Forensics was one of the founding inspirations for Genealogy For Justice. We are now the managing sponsors of the Dean and Tina Linn Clouse Memorial Fund on behalf of the Clouse-Casasanta and Linn families, as well as the child born Holly Marie Clouse.
HOW MANY HOLLYS: DONATION CHALLENGE
When Board of Advisors member Ted Keating heard of his friend Les’ murdered sister being identified after 40 years, he wanted to help. Learning about the too often missing funding to identify John and Jane Does using DNA he immediately stepped up – and he challenged his customers and friends to do the same.
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