The mother of a Colorado Springs teen missing for months is revealing new information about what may have lead to the disappearance.
For the first time, Julia Nichols is talking about her 19-year-old daughter Kara’s involvement in drugs and prostitution.
“We were reluctant to portray our daughter as just a no good person that no one should care about,” Nichols said. “She’s our daughter. We love her dearly.”
Nichols said it was only after Kara went missing in October that she learned what was going on in her daughter’s life.
“We’ve been told from the beginning they suspect foul play both because of her issues with drugs and the link to prostitution,” Nichols said.
She said while the family has been hesitant to talk about it, with no leads in Kara’s disappearance, they’re hoping this information could open new doors.
“(From) a friend or a parent or someone who might have any suspicion of their own child’s involvement in that world, or past involvement,” Nichols said.
But she said honesty about Kara’s past has national media, once interested in the case, no longer wanting to talk about it. Nichols said interviews have suddenly been canceled.
“It’s as though we’re re-victimized. That our daughter is blamed for her mistakes and her troubles, and our story isn’t nice enough to be told by the media,” said Nichols.
Aubrey Terry with the Human Trafficking Task Force of Southern Colorado said that can be a common perspective.
“What we’re saying is there are qualifications on being a victim,” Terry said. “That we only want to protect and help those who are worthy.”
Like Kara Nichols, Terry was a teen prostitute in southern Colorado. She said she was a 16-year-old runaway when a friend urged her to become part of an escort service.
“I got lost in that culture and there was definitely drugs invited,” she said. “It just made me feel that’s all I was worthy of.”
Terry now works with survivors, and says people need to be aware of the underworld that can prey on young people, even right here at home.
“It can really happen to anyone,” Terry said. “No one wakes up and says, ‘I want to be a prostitute, I want to be a drug addict.’ I think people think that it’s either black or white, right or wrong, but there’s so much grey area.”
Kara’s mother said her family feels terrible guilt for not being able to get their daughter away from that lifestyle.
“The whole family has been devastated,” Nichols said. “We never dreamed this kind of thing went on in Colorado Springs, but we’ve since learned, it’s here.”
Kara was last seen Oct. 9th when she told her roommates she was going to Denver for a modeling job. If you have any information about her disappearance, call the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office at 719-390-5555 or email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org