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Forensic genealogist who cracked “Baby Holly” case solved Phoenix Canal Murders case

The forensic genealogist whose team cracked the case is no stranger to solving Arizona cases.
Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 8:49 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A cold case cracked – “Baby Holly” was found alive after more than 40 years. Her parents were murdered in the early 80s, and she went missing. Now Arizona’s Family has learned her mysterious whereabouts led to Arizona and how the genealogist whose team cracked the case is no stranger to solving Arizona cases.

“I said, ‘Oh my God, this is a gift from heaven. I was just so ecstatic,’ said Holly’s grandma Friday. It’s a moment her grandma and aunt never even thought was a reality – ‘Baby Holly’ found and alive.

“It really went nowhere until this week,” said Colleen Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is a forensic genealogist and founder of ‘Identifinders International.’

Her team found out about two homicide victims from 1981, a Jane and John Doe, found murdered in a wooded area of Houston, Texas. She and her genealogist Misty were able to send the DNA to their sequencing lab.

“Misty was able to identify the John Doe as Dean Clouse, “Harold Dean Clouse” I’d say in about under 10 days,” said Fitzpatrick. It turns out that Jane Doe was his wife, Tina Clouse.

Fitzpatrick and her team contacted their family — they had solved half the case with their identities. “In this conversation in this process, the Clouses’ mentioned well what about their baby Holly? And of course, what? Their baby Holly? We became aware that Holly was missing but you can’t get DNA out of a missing person,” said Fitzpatrick.

To no avail, Fitzpatrick’s team tried to find Holly. But this week, she got a call from the Texas Attorney General’s office — they had found “Baby Holly,” who is now 41, and Fitzpatrick’s team got to talk to her on the phone. “It went very well. Everybody was very touched,” she said.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office said though they are still investigating how Baby Holly’s parents were killed and by who, they were able to piece together some details of where she disappeared to, which was here in Arizona.

“Baby Holly was left at a church in Arizona and was taken into their care. Two women who identified themselves as a nomadic religious group brought Holly to the church. They were wearing white robe and were barefoot,” said Brent Webster, Texas First Assistant Attorney General.

Those were the only details released so far, and officials said the family who raised Holly are not considered suspects in the killing of her biological parents.

For Fitzpatrick, her team’s innovative discovery brings a case like this full circle. “We were real excited. People were crying, Misty was crying, and there’s two chapters here. There’s the initial identification of her parents which kicked off the whole thing, and then once you get past that that’s just plain ol’ dog detective work to find out where the baby is,” said Fitzpatrick.

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office confirmed they helped identify and track down Baby Holly but couldn’t go into more details because this is still an active investigation.

As for Fitzpatrick, she was the forensic genealogist who cracked the famous “Canal Murders” case from the 90s, which led to the 2015 arrest of Bryan Patrick Miller, known as the “Zombie Hunter,” so she’s no stranger to cracking major Arizona cases.