The case of a missing Springs woman became unexpectedly entangled with an investigation into alleged misconduct by the El Paso County sheriff after a taped conversation between the sheriff and deputy was released Tuesday.
The sheriff's office said upon releasing the tape that the deputy was in trouble for making insensitive remarks about a case. Based on context of the 50-minute-long conversation, that case was the Kara Nichols case. The full recording can be found on the side of this page.
Nichols left her home in Cimarron Hills on the night of October, 9, 2012, and hasn't been seen or heard from since. The then-19-year-old told her roommates that she was heading for Denver, but left behind her purse and money. All cell phone activity ceased that night.
A statement attributed to the parents of Kara Nichols was posted on the "Help Us Find Kara Nichols" Facebook page Wednesday night:
Paul and Julia Nichols have asked we release this statement tonight. They have yet to listen to the audio interview of Porter earlier today, so these comments are based on his comments yesterday to the Gazette. - Michelle Bart, NWCAVE.
"We find it very disturbing to learn about misconduct by Sheriff Maketa and some of his staff, which apparently has been going on for years. We trusted the El Paso County Sheriff's Department to investigate and solve our daughter's missing person case. With the amount of misappropriation of resources, lack of effective supervision, and general malaise, it is no surprise that in the crucial initial weeks after Kara's disappearance, the case was not properly investigated. Tips and leads went unnoticed, no forensic investigation was performed, and phone records made available immediately were not investigated for months.
However, the fact that Deputy Porter has the gall to use our daughter's case as a way to cover his own ineptitude is infuriating. Deputy Porter was initially assigned my daughter's case, and from the start he made assumptions that she was deceased. He obfuscated and avoided taking our calls, and gave us advise such as to not bother posting flyers or talking to the media. After months of excuses, the case was reassigned to a more competent and dedicated officer. But as everyone knows in missing persons cases, the first days and weeks are crucial. Unfortunately, by the time the case was reassigned, many leads had gone cold.
In short, it is heartbreaking to realize that during all this time since our daughter disappeared in October 2012, Sheriff Maketa and some of his personnel were abusing their power and public trust by engaging in moral and fiscal misconduct. Instead, they should have been doing their sworn duty, paid for by the citizens, to serve and protect. A better-run agency might have had the ability to find our daughter, or at least punish whoever might have harmed her." - Paul and Julia Nichols