Authorities believe they have found the remains of Kara Nichols, a 19 year old who disappeared from Colorado Springs in October 2012.
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 property on Burgess Road.
A search warrant was obtained on February 7, 2022, and investigators from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI were deployed to the 9600 block of Burgess Road where female human remains were recovered.
46 year old Joel Hollendorfer, who resides on the property where the remains were recovered, was arrested and charged with second degree murder in Kara’s case. He’s also facing a felony charge of tampering with evidence.
In late January 2022, Hollendorfer’s wife told the FBI that Joel confessed to strangling Kara during an encounter, and that he then buried her body on his parent’s property. She also said she believes his parents knew about the murder and had been covering for him.
On February 9, 2022, Hollendorfer’s bond was increased from $50,000 to $1 million, with the judge citing more than a dozen failure to appear charges and a criminal history going back to the mid 1990s.
Prosecutors intend to upgrade the charge from second to first degree murder pending autopsy results.
The Hollendorfer property was originally searched back in October 2014 when detectives used mobile phone pings to figure out where Nichols had been the night she disappeared.
Cadaver dogs were brought in, and authorities found an area that looked like a shallow grave, however, for unknown reasons the area wasn’t excavated until this year.
In the area where cadaver dogs had signaled to nearly a decade earlier Kara’s remains were found, buried about three feet deep.
Kara Nichols Disappearance
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.
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.
Foul play is strongly suspected in Kara Nancy Nichols’s disappearance. Authorities pointed to a strong possibility that she may have been targeted by an organized group designed to exploit wanna-be models.
The circumstances of Kara Nichols’s disappearance remain unclear and her case is currently classified as missing. Her case remains unsolved.
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