COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Julia Nichols says she never thought she'd have to face a parent's worst nightmare: A child missing for months with no leads.
Her 19-year-old daughter, Kara, was last seen October 9.
"I never thought I'd be in this situation. Or my family would, or my daughter would," said Nichols. "As mother, it's very hard to hear investigators tell us that she might have been killed. It's excruciatingly difficult and painful."
Nichols disappearance remains a mystery for investigators and her family. The day the aspiring model was last seen, she told her roommates she was going to Denver for a modeling job, but didn't take her wallet, I.D. or cellphone.
"We miss her so much. We just don't understand what could have happened," said Nichols, who doesn't think her daughter would ever go this long without contacting her.
Nichols was photographed by Colorado Springs' photographer, JAnthony Garnica, who runs Beautiful Distractions Models.
"It's really opened our eyes," Garnica said of Nichols' disappearance. "That thought of, 'It will never happen to me,' has now happened to someone within our own family."
Garnica's models are often shot posing provocatively, and he describes his business as 'The Victoria's Secret of Colorado.' He said he photographs and promotes models and helps them connect with photographers, stylists and fashion designers. He said he last talked to Nichols more than six months before she disappeared.
Garnica says what happened has put a new focus on safety for his models.
"When they show up on site, check in on their Facebook that they're here at this photo shoot," said Garnica. "Take pictures of the location that they're headed to. Be more conscientious of their surroundings."
Back in November, some photos of Nichols showed up on an escort site in Las Vegas, but investigators said they don't believe Nichols had anything to do with those postings, and that the sites had pulled old photos of her from the Internet.
A Facebook page has been created with the latest information on the search for Nichols.
Contact Detective Porter at the El Paso County Sheriff's Office with tips at 719-390-5555 or email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.