NewsCovering Colorado


Suspect in Kara Nichols case makes first appearance, bond increased to $1 million

kara and joel pic.jpg
Posted at 4:51 PM, Feb 09, 2022

COLORADO SPRINGS — On Monday, police say they found the remains of 19-year-old aspiring model, Kara Nichols, nearly 10 years after she went missing. Police arrested 46-year-old Joel Hollendorfer in connection with Nichols' murder. He is charged with second-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence.

"Kara was loved in 2012, just as much as she was in 2022," said Michelle Bart with the National Women's Coalition of Violence and Exploitation. Bart has helped the Nichols family for years since Nichols disappearance, and is serving as their spokesperson for the time being.

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.

However, her loved ones say she was much more than an aspiring model.

"A lot of times the pictures they would put out, post of her... They never showed her sense of humor, her joking... but there was a sparkle inside of her... There was kindness," said Dina Wood, Nichols' High School English Teacher.

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

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

"The location of the remains and the person of interest... No. We weren't surprised," said Bart.

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

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

During his advisement hearing on Wednesday, the judge increased Hollendorfer's bond from $50,000 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.

Records show Hollendorfer previously had multiple Domestic Violence charges involving his ex-wife.

"We would have liked to have seen that because if his track record since 1994, would have not given him bail at all," said Bart.

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

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