COLORADO SPRINGS — Family and friends of Kara Nichols gathered for a vigil on Wednesday to honor her memory and call for justice.
Nichols went missing in 2012, when she was just 19 years old. Her body was found this year in a horse’s grave on Joel Hollendorfer’s parents’ property in Black Forest.
Michelle Bart, the Nichols’ family spokesperson, said every time Hollendorfer is in court, the family feels like it’s putting salt on the wound.
“Kara went missing almost a decade ago and you’ve got a family, not just one person who took her life, but a family that all knew where she was for all these years and wasted everybody’s time and energy and the closure to this family,” Bart said. “And now we have to do it all over again.”
Hollendorfer had allegedly years ago told his now ex-wife about the murder and where Kara’s body was, which helped officers locate her body in February.
According to the autopsy report that was made public in March, Nichols died by strangulation. The defense argues the autopsy report shouldn’t have been made public and want sanctions to be put on the prosecution for it.
Nichols’ family would also like to see Hollendorfer’s mother held accountable, since they believe she knew that Kara’s body was buried in their backyard.
“The closure is nice but it just makes me so angry that people knew where she was this whole time and I just hate what happened to her. I always hoped that maybe she would come home one day,” said Erin Wyrick, a high school friend of Nichols and local hairstylist.
In memory of Nichols, Wyrick started “Cuts for Kara” at her salon, Wildflower Salon on Colorado Avenue. Patrons can visit her for a haircut for a $30 donation made online to the National Women’s Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation designated to the Kara Nichols memorial fund. Donations are also accepted by checks which should be made out to NWCAVE and have “Kara Nichols memorial fund” as the memo.
The donations will help Kara’s family travel to Colorado during the court proceedings as the family and friends seek justice.
“She loved everyone, she accepted everyone and she really wanted everybody to know that they had a place with her and she made people not feel out of the loop or an outsider and she was a very loving and caring person.”Autumn Hopf, high school friend of Nichols