In 1980, Tina Gail Linn Clouse and Harold Dean Clouse met and fell in love. They moved from Florida, to Lewisville, Texas. Harold’s mother Donna Casasanta has spoken to the media and said that Harold initially remained in touch with his family back home.
Shortly after the couple arrived in Texas, Donna received a strange phone call from a woman who identified herself as ‘Sister Susan’. Sister Susan said that Tina and Harold had joined a religious group, had given up their possessions and had decided to cease all contact with their families.
Susan told Donna that she could deliver Howard’s car to her in Daytona Beach, Florida in exchange for money. I believe Donna alerted the police and Susan was taken into custody after she showed up for the exchange.
Donna never heard from Howard again.
In 1981, two bodies (a male and a female) were found in Houston, Texas. The male had been beaten and bound and the female had been strangled. They remained unidentified until 2021, when Tina and Harold’s family learned what had become of them. They had been murdered over 30 years ago.
Before they were murdered, Tina and Harold had a baby girl together, Holly. Holly’s body was not found with those of her parents and nobody knew what had become of her.
Until 2022. This info about the breaks in the case comes from the Daily Mail:
The breakthrough came when forensic genealogists Misty Gillis and Allison Peacock, of Texas-based FHD Forensics, were contacted by investigators to help.
The team inserted new information in GEDmatch.com, a DNA matching website, and were able to match Dean Clouse’s DNA with his cousins in Kentucky.
Investigators reached out to his sister, Debbie Brooks, and ultimately identified the bodies as Dean and Tina.
Brooks asked the team if they had found the baby, but the genealogists had been unaware that Holly even existed, so they began a new search which led to identifying her.
We have learned that baby Holly was dropped off at a church, shortly after her parents died. She was adopted legally and her adoptive parents are said to not have done anything wrong.
It is thought that the people who dropped Holly off, were likely members of a cult called ‘Christ’s Family.
First Assistant Attorney General of Texas, Brent Webster has been interviewed about this case and has said that the group wore white robes, went barefoot, ate a vegetarian diet, separated men and women and shunned animal products.
Christ’s Family was led by a convicted drug trafficker called Lightning Amen who in 2003 was convicted of annoying or molesting a child under 18.
The group, which numbered around 2,000 at its peak, believed that marijuana is a God-given herb and smoked it openly and dubbed it ‘God’s tranquilizer’ – while the men wore diapers on their heads like a turban.
Christ’s Family believed in the separation of the sexes and moved around from coast to coast ‘like the wind’, according to a 1980 report in the Washington Post about the group.
The report said that they did not wear leather goods, eat meat, eggs, dairy products or even honey as they say they are the product of captive animals.
Nearly all of them took the last name ‘Christ.’
Their most well-known feature was their white robes and bare feet, inspired by the idea that it could bring them closer to Jesus.
They had no money, lived off food stamps and charity from the public and carried Army-style blankets over their shoulders as makeshift beds.
Cult expert Joseph Szimhart said: ‘There were other Jesus type groups but these people were very distinctive, they said that you should smoke marijuana and they wore the white robes.
‘Right away you were curious because they were so distinctive. One of the women squatted down to talk to me. She didn’t have any underwear on. She was very comfortable with that.
‘They were not trying to recruit me and attracted people passively through their look and peaceful demeanor.
‘A few young people would get curious and find meaning in their words and they’d sign up and a month later they’d be wearing the costume.’
Joseph believes that Tina and Harold may have actually willingly given up Holly. ‘The simple answer is that the group convinced them to give up the kid. They espoused celibacy as a rule like monks and nuns.
‘Attachments to the world and to your family and things outside the group were considered sinful.
‘You have to give it up for the lord. If you don’t love Jesus more than your mother and father you’re not worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven.
‘They’d use words like ”your work is for the Lord” then you’d give up the child.’
The cult’s leader Lightning Amen was up until his death, living in a ranch in Hemet, CA. The house is registered to a nonprofit organization called Christ Family Pure Righteousness.
Among those registered as living at the address is a woman called Kris Miller, 67, who calls herself a ‘wealth strategist’.
She was the president of the nonprofit, according to its tax filings from the 2000s which state that its aim is to ‘promote the gospel of Jesus Christ through music.’
A 2009 tax filing states: ‘The men and women in this group touch thousands of lives by sharing the love and truth of Jesus Christ everywhere we go.’
Only three people are left living in that compound. Gary Christ, John Christ and Kris Miller.
Gary Christ spoke to the media and said he had never heard of Tina and Harold.
There are many stories online from people who had encounters with Christ’s Family.
They wrote: ‘I was moved to the desert, bathed in the river and begged for food when I was 3. I have very vivid memories of those days. Living with rattlesnakes and wearing ”white robes”. I was eventually sent to live with my uncle and was separated from my parents while they were ”on the road” to enlightenment. My father never recovered; he threw his whole life away on a lie. It ruined our life…they did nothing but take and use our family.’
In another online forum, a user called Barefeet wrote in 2020: ‘Lightning Amen was a douchebag who abused the brothers and sisters who blindly followed him. He abused them by his hypocrisy. He abused many women and children.’
In response a user called Paolo wrote a comment posted last year which read: ‘Where was the love? He preached no sex yet he fornicate (sic) with lots of the so called sisters.
‘There were so called brothers and sisters having sex and babies too? What happens to all those babies that were born? The fraud of the man who called himself Lightning Amen, was a white trash racist women abusing b******’
Holly had no idea about her true identity until June 2022. Authorities called her on her father’s birthday to tell her the news and she met her birth family on a Zoom call that same day.
Donna Casasanta, Holly’s grandmother, said it was a ‘birthday present from heaven’ and that they had ‘prayed for more than 40 years for answers’.
Cheryl Clouse, Holly’s aunt, said: ‘It was so exciting to see Holly. I was so happy to meet her for the first time. It is such a blessing to be reassured that she is alright and has had a good life. The whole family slept well last night’.
There is a discrepancy in this case that I wanted to point out. Some reports say the ‘Sister Susan’ call was actually made by a man. .
Forensic genealogist Allison Peacock said: ‘The man presented himself as law enforcement who had found the car. He was very cagey and presented himself as some kind of authority. He said I’ll see if I can find somebody to bring it to you and then he supposedly found these women.
‘Holly’s grandmother Donna Casasanta kept this guy’s number and spoke to him on the phone.
‘She was grilling him and at one point he told her: ‘Look lady there’s a lot of desert between California and Florida, you’re never going to find him’.
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