Kara Nichols cold case: Man arrested after womans possible remains found nearly 10 years after she went missing

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office arrested a suspect following the discovery of possible remains of Kara Nichols, a woman who has been missing for nearly 10 years, officials announced Tuesday night.

Police say Joel Hollendorfer, 46, was arrested and booked into the El Paso County Jail on suspicion of second-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence.

Nichols, then 19, was last seen by a family member on Oct. 9, 2012, in unincorporated El Paso County. Her family reported her missing on Oct. 14, 2012.

During a January cold case review, a witness was located and interviewed. That person gave critical information and provided a new lead, investigators say.

On Monday, a team of El Paso sheriff’s investigators and the FBI Evidence Response Team executed a search warrant in the 9600 block of Burgess Road in Colorado Springs. The sheriff’s office said the search led to the recovery of female human remains, which the El Paso County Coroner’s Office tentatively identified as Nichols on Tuesday.

On Facebook Page titled “Justice for Kara Nichols,” a family member shared their heartbreak.

“It is with profound sadness and a heavy heart, that we share that we were informed yesterday by authorities, that our beautiful daughter’s remains were found and a suspect has been arrested in the case,” a post read. “Due to the unremitting support and help from National Women’s Coalition Against Violence & Exploitation (NWCAVE) the past decade they will continue to be by our family’s side, manage this page and be a voice for Kara as we seek justice in this case.”

Officials say investigators have spent hundreds of hours working the case, dozens of search warrants have been executed, and numerous leads have come in over the duration of the investigation, spanning the United States and Europe.

Investigators stressed the complexity of the case and asked for those with information to call 719-520-6666.

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