Name: Kara Nancy Nichols
Age: 19 years old
Last seen: October 9, 2012
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Status: Found deceased in Feb. 2022
19 year old Kara Nichols was last seen at her home in Colorado Springs, Colorado on October 9, 2012, when she told her roommate she was heading to Denver for a modeling job.
Kara Nancy Nichols was born on May 20, 1993 to parents Julia and Paul Nichols. She grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado with an older brother and a younger sister.
When she was thirteen, Kara was caught shoplifting. As a result, she underwent juvenile adjudication and was sentenced to a community service program.
During high school, Kara fell into depression when her family dog died in her sophomore year. Her parents attempted to arrange psychological counseling for her, but Kara resisted and didn’t take her prescribed medication.
Instead, Kara started using drugs, and became rebellious and manic. She might have been struggling with bipolar disorder and/or borderline personality disorder, but wasn’t taking any medication.
Kara attended Rampart High School in Colorado Springs and later graduated from local alternative high school, Life Skills of Colorado Springs, where she could work at her own pace.
After graduation, Kara took on a waitressing job but also modeled part-time, mostly lingerie shoots, while living at home. She also created a profile on Model Mayhem, an online modeling website that links models with photographers.
In the summer of 2012, Kara quit her job and moved with her family to Chicago, Illinois. When her drug abuse deepened, Kara’s family enrolled her in a drug treatment program, but was discharged early when she didn’t follow the rules.
In August of 2012, Kara moved back to Colorado Springs on her own. She lived in a home with three male roommates in the 6700 block of Mission Road in the Cimarron Hills area of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
On the evening of October 9, 2012, Kara left home telling her roommate she was heading to Denver for a modeling shoot. Minutes later, a dark sedan pulled away from the building and the roommate assumed it was her ride.
Over the next two days, Kara’s brother, who lived nearby, attempted to call and send text messages to her, but she never picked up her phone. Kara Nancy Nichols never returned home and has not been heard from since.
On October 12, 2012, Kara’s brother filed a missing person report with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office when she failed to answer his phone calls.
Inside the room she rented, Kara left most of her personal belongings, including her purse, identification, clothes, makeup, laptop, and $300 in cash. Her phone records, bank account, and social media have shown no activity since she vanished.
The last activity on her phone were text messages sent on the night of her disappearance at 11:45 pm. Her cell phone, which has not been found, last pinged to cellular towers north of her home in the direction of Denver.
Authorities began to suspect foul play in Kara Nichols’ disappearance upon discovering her involvement in drugs and prostitution.
Over the previous two years, Kara reportedly worked as a prostitute to support her drug habit. Shortly before her disappearance, she allegedly had a falling out with a pimp.
On November 20, 2012, authorities announced that they were looking for two brunette women who reportedly spent much of the day with Kara before she disappeared. Neither of them have been identified.
On November 30, 2012, a profile featuring photos of Kara Nichols appeared on MyRedBook, an online Las Vegas escort website. When police called the number on the advert, her family said the voice was not hers.
Authorities eventually concluded that the photographs were taken from another source, and that Kara Nichols was not in Las Vegas. Escorts websites often use random pictures lifted from the Internet to advertise online.
Kara’s Remains Found in 2022
In February 2022, authorities announced they found the remains of Kara Nichols, and the El Paso County Coroner’s Office ruled that her death was from asphyxia due to strangulation.
Kara’s remains were found in the 9600 block of Burgess Road in the Black Forest area, and were tentatively identified as belonging to Nichols. Positive identification was made by the El Paso County Coroner’s Office.
The discovery was made after re interviewing a witness where new “critical information” came to light, leading investigators to search the area near Burgess Road.
Joel Hollendorfer’s wife, Kristina Palmer, told the Federal Bureau of Investigation that Hollendorfer admitted he accidentally killed an escort he hired several years ago and had buried her body on his parents’ property.
She also told authorities she believed his parents knew about the murder and had been covering for their son.
46 year old Joel Hollendorfer, who resides on the property where the remains were recovered, was arrested and charged charged with second degree murder in Kara’s case. He’s also facing a felony charge of tampering with evidence.
During a court appearance on February 17, 2022, Hollendorfer’s charge was upgraded from second to first degree murder, and his bond was revoked.
Investigators believe Hollendorfer arranged to pick up Kara near her Mission Road address, and that he strangled her during their encounter. He then took her body to his parents property where he buried her.
On June 22, 2023, a jury found Hollendorfer guilty of manslaughter and tampering with evidence. Sentencing is set for July.
On February 7, 2022, authorities recovered the remains of Kara Nichols.
The remains were discovered in the 9600 block of Burgess Road in the Black Forest area after authorities re interviewed a key witness and new information came to light. Positive identification was made by the El Paso County Coroner’s Office.
46 year old Joel Hollendorfer was arrested and charged with her murder. He is currently being held on a $1 million bond and awaiting trial.
Authorities believe Hollendorfer strangled Kara during an encounter, and then buried her body on his parent’s property.
Caucasian female born on May 20, 1993. She has Blond/Strawberry hair with green eyes. Her natural hair color was brown but was bleached blonde at the time of her disappearance. Kara is 5”8 tall and weighs 115 pounds.
Distinctive Physical Features:
Kara has a tattoo of a small spaceman on her left wrist and a small marijuana leaf on her right ankle. She has “Monroe” piercing between her lips and nose on the right side of her mouth. Her belly button and back are pierced. Her ears are gauged.
Clothing and accessories:
Kara was last seen wearing a hooded sweatshirt, dark colored jeans, and a pair of white DC sneakers. She had hot pink ear gauges.
If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Kara Nancy Nichols please contact the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (719) 390-5555.
Resources & Further Information
News & Media Links
El Paso County authorities look for missing teen – KRDO 11/12
Looking for Kara: Investigators Need Your Help – KRDO 11/12
Investigators: Kara Nichols didn’t post prostitution ads – KRDO 11/12
Kara Nichols’ mom reveals new information in disappearance – KRDO 01/13
Family renews pleas for answers one year after daughter’s disappearance – KRDO 10/13
Colorado Springs lingerie model vanishes on photo shoot trip to Denver – Denver Post 01/14
MISSING: New age progression photo of Kara Nichols released – KKTV 06/18
Affidavit Reveals New Details Leading Up to Kara Nichols Disappearance – KRDO 02/22
Videos & Flyers