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Body of Colorado Springs woman, Kara Nichols, found 10 years after she went missing

46-year-old suspect arrested
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Posted at 5:01 PM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 21:03:40-05

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Authorities say they found the remains of a 19-year-old Colorado Springs woman, Kara Nichols, nearly 10 years after she went missing.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office made the announcement during a press briefing Tuesday, adding that a suspect has also been arrested.

Nichols' body was found off of Burgess Road in Black Forest, about 15 miles northeast of the city, on Monday. Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation were also on scene, the sheriff's office said.

The El Paso County Coroner's Office tentatively identified the victim as Kara Nichols on Tuesday. They confirmed the identify on Thursday as Nichols. A cause and manner of death have not yet been determined.

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

During the briefing, the sheriff's office said a suspect was taken into custody. Joel Hollendorfer, 46, was arrested on Monday in connection with Nichols' murder.

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Joel Hollendorfer

Hollendorfer is charged with second-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence. He is being held on a $50,000 bond. His connection to the victim is not known.

"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 El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder.

In 2016, four years after her disappearance, the family got new tips about their daughter. Michelle Bart, president of the 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.