Dean and Tina Clouse Murders – A captivating TV show, ‘20/20: Dearly Departed,’ airing on ABC, features a real-life mystery that has baffled investigators for over four decades. In this episode, we delve into the enigmatic deaths of Dean and Tina Clouse, a young couple whose lives took a tragic turn in late 1980 or early 1981.
Airs on a prominent network, ABC, this episode takes you on a journey to Lewisville, Texas, where a gruesome discovery unfolded. It revolves around the use of cutting-edge forensic technology that finally unveiled the victims’ identities after 40 long years. The central question that lingers is, who was responsible for the deaths of the Clouse couple, and what became of their infant daughter, Holly?
Dean and Tina Clouse Murder Story
To truly understand the depths of this tragedy, we must first acquaint ourselves with Dean and Tina Clouse, the young couple whose lives were abruptly cut short. Dean Clouse, known as “Junior,” was born in Kentucky in 1959. His early years were marked by a curious association with a group known as the “Jesus Freaks,” a community of bearded Brothers and long-haired Sisters who were recognized for their religious conversions.
In the late 1970s, the allure of the Jesus People movement began to wane, and Dean distanced himself from it. His life took a new turn when he fell in love with Tina Gail Linn, who was born in Oklahoma City in 1963. The young couple secretly married at the Volusia County Courthouse in June 1979. A daughter, Holly, was born to them in January 1980.
The Clouse family relocated to Lewisville, Texas, during the mid-1980s, initially staying with Dean’s cousin before securing their residence. However, financial challenges loomed as Dean’s employment remained inconsistent. Despite these hardships, the couple maintained their contentment. But in late October 1980, their families lost contact with them, and they were last seen alive in Lewisville.
The grim discovery came on January 12, 1981, when the bodies of Dean and Tina Clouse were found in a wooded area just north of Houston. Their faces were still discernible enough for facial reconstructions, despite significant decomposition. Both victims were determined to have been murdered, with Tina having been strangled, and Dean bound, gagged, and beaten to death. It is believed that Tina was attacked first, with Dean attempting to defend her. Tragically, their infant daughter, Holly, was nowhere to be found at the scene.
Investigation and Arrest
After weeks of no contact from the Clouse family, a mysterious call in 1981 informed them that Dean and Tina’s car had been found in Los Angeles, California. A group of women, led by “Sister Susan,” appeared to be in their 30s, driving the vehicle. They claimed that Dean had willingly joined their group, leaving his family behind.
Both the Clouse and Linn families made efforts to locate the missing couple, but they hit a dead-end. The authorities did not consider their disappearance as involuntary due to the return of the car. In the 1970s, “Jesus freak” movements were somewhat common but were dwindling by the 1980s. Dean had a history of interaction with such groups, which made the situation all the more perplexing.
The complex investigation into the Dean and Tina Clouse murder case revealed various intriguing facets. Here, we delve deeper into the key elements of this compelling inquiry.
1. The Enigmatic Meeting with “Sister Susan”
The investigation begins with a mysterious meeting between Dean’s family and a woman who introduces herself as “Sister Susan.” In December 1980, she claimed to be interested in returning the couple’s car, which had been missing along with Dean and Tina. This encounter took place in Florida and raised suspicions due to several peculiarities.
- A Nighttime Meeting: The meeting was scheduled for nighttime, an unusual choice for a simple car return. Why the secrecy?
- Singular Speaker: While several members of the religious group were present, only “Sister Susan” spoke. Her monopolization of the conversation struck an odd note.
- The Donation Request: During the meeting, the group requested a hefty $1,000 donation from Dean’s mother, Donna Casasanta. The intent behind this substantial sum remained a baffling mystery.
This meeting added layers of intrigue to the investigation, but the police did not generate an official report at the time, leaving the incident largely undocumented.
2. Dismissal of Dean’s Disappearance
Following this curious encounter, Donna Casasanta attempted to report her son, Dean, as missing to the authorities. However, her efforts were swiftly dismissed. The police cited the car’s return as proof that Dean’s disappearance was voluntary. This dismissal left the families perplexed, as they found it hard to believe that the couple would willingly join a cult, as suggested by “Sister Susan.”
The intentional return of the car raised suspicions about the group’s motives. It seemed that the car’s return was orchestrated to deter a thorough investigation into the couple’s disappearance. This aspect of the case cast a shadow of doubt over the official narrative.
The investigation’s twists and turns left many unanswered questions, and the family’s plea for justice persisted.
3. The Role of the Religious Group
A central enigma in this case revolves around the involvement of the religious group associated with “Sister Susan.” It is believed that the same group that returned the car in Florida is also responsible for leaving Holly, the Clouse’s infant daughter, at a church in Arizona shortly after her parents’ murders.
– Nomadic Lifestyle: The group was observed living a nomadic existence in the southwestern United States. Their transient nature added complexity to the investigation, making it challenging to pinpoint their whereabouts at any given time.
– Distinct Beliefs: The group had distinct beliefs, including separation of males and females, vegetarianism, and a prohibition on using leather goods. These beliefs painted a unique backdrop to the case.
– Previous Abandonments: The group claimed to have left another baby at a laundromat in the past. This added an eerie dimension to the narrative, raising questions about their motives and involvement in other unsolved cases.
As the investigation continues, the role of this religious group remains a focal point. Their connections to the Clouse case and other potential instances of child abandonment cast a lingering shadow over the mystery.
Intriguing, complex, and filled with unresolved elements, the Dean and Tina Clouse murder investigation stands as a testament to the enduring mysteries of true crime. The baffling details continue to captivate our imagination, demanding answers and justice, even after four decades.
Is Dean and Tina Clouse Murder Case Still Unsolved?
Now, four decades later, the mystery surrounding the Clouse murders persists. The investigation remains active, led by Harris County Police Deputy Thomas Gilliland. While the case may be partially restricted due to its ongoing nature, it has not been forgotten.
The focus has shifted towards finding the individuals responsible for Dean and Tina’s deaths. The revelation of Holly’s return generated a surge in new leads for the Texas Attorney General’s cold case unit. The complex narrative surrounding the religious group raises questions about their involvement and possible leads that might have been missed in the initial investigation.
In the words of Detective Gilliland, “This case continues to intrigue us, and we are determined to find answers.”
So, as we wrap up this exploration of the Dean and Tina Clouse murder case, the question remains: Who killed them, and what became of their infant daughter, Holly? The enigma endures, and justice for the Clouse family remains an ongoing pursuit.
In conclusion, the Clouse murders stand as a testament to the enduring mysteries that captivate our imagination and demand justice, no matter how much time has passed. The story of Dean and Tina Clouse is a reminder that even the most perplexing cases can find resolution through determination and persistence.
For now, the Clouse family continues to seek answers, and the investigation into their tragic deaths remains active, making it clear that this story is far from over.