Remains found and man arrested ten years after girl vanished

‘New significant lead’ in decade-long investigation came after probe was reviewed

Gino Spocchia
Thursday 10 February 2022 20:00 GMT
Kara Nichols, who went missing in October 2012
Kara Nichols, who went missing in October 2012 (Dateline)

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The remains of a woman have been found and a man arrested in connection with Kara Nichols’ disappearance nearly a decade ago.

The 19-year-old, who was last seen by family members leaving her home in Colorado’s El Paso County in October 2012, had been on her way to a modelling event in Denver when she was never heard or seen from again.

Authorities in El Paso said in an announcement on Monday that there had been a breakthrough in its investigation into Kara’s disappearance following a review of the case.

It included the finding of human remains that El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said were the result of “a new significant new lead” during a recent interview with a witness.

The remains were later identified as belonging to the teenager, some seven miles southwest of her family home in El Paso, the press release said.

A man, Joel Hollendorfer, was arrested and booked into the El Paso County Jail on charges of second-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence.

Joel Hollendorfer
Joel Hollendorfer (El Paso County Sheriff’s Office)

NBC News reported that he will appear in court on 17 February.

The sheriff’s office provided no further details in its press release and thanked those who had taken part in its probe, which involved “hundreds of hours work”, “dozens of search warrants” and “numerous leads”.

“These types of cases are complex and difficult to solve”, said the sheriff’s office.

An attorney for Hollednorder could not be reached.

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