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Police confirm remains of Kara Nichols found, 10 years after she went missing

kara nichols
Posted at 4:28 PM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 15:20:43-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Police say they found the remains of 19-year-old aspiring model, Kara Nichols, nearly 10 years after she went missing.

On Thursday, the El Paso County Coroner's Office positively identified the remains as Nichols at the property located in the 9600 block of Burgess Road.

Nichols, who attempted to spark her modeling career at age 19, told her friends she would be traveling from Colorado Springs to Denver for a photoshoot in 2012 on Oct. 9. She wouldn't be seen again.

"A witness was located and interviewed. There was critical information given in that interview which provided a significant new lead," said Sheriff Bill Elder.

Her body was found off of Burgess Road in Black Forest, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation were also on the scene.

Joel Hollendorfer mugshot for web.jpg
46-year-old Joel Hollendorfer.

Police have arrested 46-year-old Joel Hollendorfer in connection with Nichols' murder. He is charged with second-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence.

During a hearing, prosecutors told the judge that charges were likely to increase to First Degree Murder based on autopsy results.

During his advisement hearing on Wednesday, the judge increased Hollendorfer's bond to $1 million. He was also ordered to surrender his passport and was deemed a flight risk due to his previous Failure to Appear Charges.

Hollendorfer's next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday, February 17

"There have been hundreds of hours worked on this case, dozens of search warrants executed, and numerous leads which have come in over the duration of this case spanning across the United States and Europe," said Elder.

In 2016, four years after her disappearance, the family got new tips about their daughter. Michelle Bart, president of National Women's Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation (NWCAVE), said those tips had led Nichols' family to believe their daughter had died.

The NWCAVE has been involved with this case and the Nichols family since soon after the teen's disappearance.

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