Missing woman’s family arrested in Texas in connection to her disappearance
SPOKANE, Wash. — It has been nearly two years since Courtney Holden’s friends have seen her, but Spokane Police just learned of her disappearance a few months ago — now, they’re fearing the worst for the young mom after they arrested her adoptive mother and brother, who recently ran away to Texas.
Courtney, 27, is mom to a 7-year-old boy. Her son’s father’s girlfriend called Crime Check Oct. 5, saying she was worried something happened to Courtney, since she hadn’t seen her in a year and a half. Courtney’s son’s father called again the next day, saying he had a parenting plan in place with Courtney, but hadn’t seen their son in two years because he was dealing with substance abuse issues. He told police his son may be staying with Judy and Joshua Holden, Courtney’s adoptive mother and brother.
A neighbor told police she had seen Courtney dragging a duffel bag out of the house in late August or early September when Judy came to the front door and told Courtney to get back in the house, to which Courtney responded “no, I’m not staying here anymore.” That neighbor said Joshua grabbed Courtney and forced her back inside. She said she never saw Courtney again after that day.
Another neighbor told police she saw Joshua in the backyard two nights in a row after Courtney disappeared. She said it looked like he was installing a swing set in the backyard under a few spotlights and that “she thought this was strange because Joshua was doing it in the middle of the night.”
Police said when they went to the Holden’s house Oct. 8 for a welfare check on Courtney, Joshua told officers she had run away with her boyfriend and her son, though he didn’t know her boyfriend’s name — that’s when he became uncooperative with police. Joshua said Courtney had already talked to police, but it was later revealed a family member called Crime Check pretending to be her on the day she was reported missing.
The investigating officer went to speak to neighbors, who told him they had not seen Courtney in over a year and had no knowledge of her having a boyfriend.
A different neighbor said she had seen Courtney’s son at the their home in the months after her disappearance. The neighbor, who was close with Courtney, also told police she was often bruised and had endured years of abuse at the hands of Joshua.
“Courtney would sometimes call her [neighbor] in the middle of the night crying,” according to a search warrant. “Courtney would tell her that Joshua was out of control.”
A background check on Joshua brought up an extensive criminal history, including charges of unlawful imprisonment, burglary, as well as rape, a charge that was later dismissed. Police said Joshua was also a suspect in a July 2003 rape. According to a search warrant, Joshua would often tell people Courtney’s son was his son and that he “has a very strange attachment” to the 7-year-old boy.
Courtney’s friend said Courtney never had a car or a cell phone and that Judy and Joshua called her son “Forest,” which is not his legal name — and that Courtney’s son would call Judy “mom,” Joshua “dad” and his own mother by her first name.
Courtney’s brother’s girlfriend told police on Oct. 9 she had seen Courtney’s son every time she visited the Holden’s home over the last year and a half. She told police Judy and Joshua would often call Courtney “Cindy,” which was short for “Cinderella,” since “she was basically expected to be their household servant.”
On Oct. 10, the investigating officer said Judy eventually let him come inside her house to look at Courtney’s room.
“There were no sheets on the bed and no blankets on the bed,” the officer wrote. “The room was cluttered and it didn’t appear to me that someone had actually been staying [there].”
The officer tried to look around for Courtney’s son, but said Judy immediately told him to leave.
Police said they found Courtney had stopped filling her prescriptions in July 2018. They also found Joshua and Judy had withdrawn $600 from Courtney’s checking account the day she was reported missing and also tried to buy groceries with her EBT card.
“I am extremely concerned about Courtney Holden’s well-being and have found no concrete evidence that [she] is currently alive,” the investigating officer said.
Once a search warrant was executed on Oct. 24, police had reason to believe Joshua and Judy fled from their house with Courtney’s son as well as their pets. Police were called back to the house a few days later when neighbors saw a man in the Holden’s yard. According to the search warrant, it was Judy’s son-in-law from Texas — he told officers Courtney’s son was with Joshua and Judy, but when his wife walked up a few minutes later, she said Courtney and her son were together and she had no way of contacting her mother. The investigating officer suspected Judy’s daughter was covering for them while they were staying at her house in Texas.
Judy’s son-in-law confirmed those suspicions. He told police Joshua, Judy and Courtney’s son showed up at his house around Nov. 26. with all their belongings. Police said they spoke with another one of Judy’s daughters, who confessed to posing as Courtney in the call to Crime Check the day she was reported missing.
“My investigation has shown that Judy Holden has been completely dishonest about the whereabouts of her adopted daughter,” the officer wrote.
Police found Joshua, Judy and Courtney’s son Dec. 16 in Plano, Texas. Joshua and Judy were arrested on charges of first degree identity theft — for withdrawing money from Courtney’s account — and second degree custodial interference — for illegally caring for her son, since they are not named in her parenting plan.
Officers ordered a warrant for cadaver dogs to search the Holden’s home as well as another property owned by Judy. Court documents show nothing was found in that search, though officers did recover 17 cell phones inside the house, which they will comb through for evidence.
Courtney is a 27-year-old white woman with black hair and brown eyes. She is approximately 5’6″ and 160 pounds.
The Major Crimes Unit is asking for anyone with any information on Courtney to come forward by calling Det. Randy Lesser at 509-625-4016 in reference to case number 2019-20191912.
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