19 year-old Kara Nichols was last seen by a family member on October 9, 2012. She was last seen leaving the 6700 block of Mission Road located in Unincorporated El Paso County. Her family reported her missing on October 14, 2012.
Mid-January of 2022, a cold case review was being conducted on this case. A witness was located and interviewed. There was critical information given in that interview which provided a significant new lead. Based on that lead, on February 7, 2022, a search warrant was obtained and a team of El Paso County Sheriff's Office Detectives and Specialists alongside the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Evidence Response Team were deployed to the 9600 block of Burgess Road. That search lead to the recovery of female human remains.
On February 8, 2022, the El Paso County Coroner's Office has tentatively identified the victim as Kara Nichols.
Joel Hollendorfer was arrested and booked into the El Paso County Jail on charges of 2nd Degree Murder and Tampering with Physical Evidence, his mugshot is attached to this media release.
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.
These types of cases are complex and difficult to solve. It is imperative to use every resource available. This is accomplished through the relationships we have built with our law enforcement partners, to include the FBI, the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office, as well as many others. We would like to extend our gratitude to these agencies for their time, effort, and resources. They understand the importance of finding justice for victims of violent crime.
We would like to recognize and applaud the tenacity and the dedication of the El Paso County Investigations Division.
Our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Kara Nichols.
If anyone has any information on this case, you are urged to contact the Investigations Tip Line at 719-520-6666.