Austin, Texas –
A Florida woman and her extended family have found her missing granddaughter in a decade-long investigation into an unsolved murder case, now that she has grown up without any prior knowledge of her tragic story, officials said Thursday.
Meanwhile, the mystery behind the brutal murder of the girl’s parents more than 40 years ago remains unsolved and Texas authorities are appealing for public help.
According to the Texas Attorney General’s Office, Harold Dean Klaus Jr., Tina Lynn Klose and their infant daughter went missing in October 1980, shortly after the young family moved from New Smyrna Beach, Florida, to the Dallas suburb of Louisville, Texas.
In January 1981, in a rural area east of Houston, a dog that returned home with a rotting human hand in its mouth was persuaded by a police search to find the remains of an unidentified couple, the report said. Houston Chronicle. The Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office said the man was beaten to death and the woman was strangled to death.
The couple remained anonymous until last October, when a team of people of genetic descent working with law enforcement agencies examined the remains and identified them as a close couple, the first assistant prosecutor said. General Brent Webster at a news conference in Austin, Texas on Thursday afternoon. But no trace of their baby granddaughter, known as Holy Mary Close, was found with the remains of her parents.
Webster did not raise questions at Thursday’s press conference, but called on the public to help resolve the murder cases. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is running for re-election, was not present.
For the missing baby, it wasn’t until Tuesday, when modern technology took investigators to his workplace, that the now 42-year-old learned about his birth family and tragic past. Before that, he only knew that he was adopted and raised by a family in Oklahoma who adopted him.
The child’s adoptive family is not suspicious of his disappearance or the death of his parents, Webster said. She refuses to give their identity or how the child identifies himself today.
Hours after the shocking revelation, the Oklahoma woman was introduced to her grandmother, aunt and uncle in a zoom call. He told them he had been married for more than 20 years and had five children and two grandchildren, the Chronicle reported.
But many questions remain, including who killed Klaus.
At one point, two women dropped the baby off at a church in Arizona and took him away, Webster said.
“Two women who identified themselves as members of a nomadic religious group brought (the child) to church. They wore white clothes and they were barefoot. They point out that their religious beliefs include the separation of male and female members, the practice of vegetarianism and the use or non-use of leather products, “Webster said.
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. Investigators believe the group traveled throughout the American Southwest, including Texas, and were known in the Yuma, Arizona area for begging for food, Webster said.
In late December 1980 or early January 1981, the family of the missing couple received a phone call from a woman who identified herself only as “Sister Susan.” The woman said she called from Los Angeles to explain that the missing couple had joined their religious group, given up all material possessions and no longer wanted to have any contact with their family. The woman asked if the family wanted the missing couple’s car back.
A meeting was held at the Florida Daytona Motor Speedway and authorities were notified, Webster said. They met a dressed man and three women. The women were taken into custody and the car was handed over to Harold Dean Klaus’ mother, Donna Cassanta, but no record of the women’s arrest was found by Florida authorities, Webster said.
Webster appealed to the public on Thursday for any information regarding the cold-blooded murder case, noting that many questions remain unanswered. In a statement from the attorney general’s office, Cassanta himself said he had “prayed for an answer for more than 40 years and that the Lord had revealed something to them.”