Kara Nichols disappearance: Photo of Colo. teen shows up on Las Vegas escort website, authorities say

Kara Nichols
JAnthony Garnica/Beautiful Distractions Models
Kara Nichols
JAnthony Garnica/Beautiful Distractions Models

(CBS) Investigators said a photo of missing Colorado teen Kara Nichols showed up on the website of a Las Vegas escort service nearly two months after her disappearance, and authorities are looking into the illegal sex industry in Nevada for answers, CBS affiliate KLAS reports.

Pictures: Teen model missing in Colorado

Nichols, 19, was last seen Oct. 9 in Colorado Springs, where she supposedly left for a modeling gig in Denver, investigators said. She left behind her purse and money, and hasn't communicated with her family or friends since then.

The profile accompanying Nichols' picture on the escort service site listed her as being in Las Vegas and showed erotic pictures of the teen. But her family believes the profile to be a cruel hoax.

"We had not seen those photos. Those are not in her bedroom. I don't know if they are a Photoshopped situation or not," said family representative Michelle Bart. "Unfortunately, this has definitely shaken the family quite a bit, that somebody would be this vicious."

Las Vegas police said it's not uncommon for escort sites to try to lure customers with photos taken from other websites, KLAS reported. The ad has since been taken down, and authorities said there is no evidence that Nichols is in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas police has been in contact with Colorado authorities regarding the case.

In a statement released on Nov. 20, El Paso County sheriff's investigators said Nichols' aspirations to become a model may have made her a target of a subculture that exploits inexperienced teenage girls into falling for "modeling business fronts that many times involve illicit drugs and prostitution."

Investigators said they uncovered several websites visited by Nichols that relate to this subculture, although these sites are not believed to be the cause of her disappearance.

Nevada authorities said Las Vegas is a hot bed for the sex business and investigators think it is possible that Nichols could be a victim of human sex trafficking, KLAS reported.

Nichols is described as 5 feet 8 inches tall, 120 pounds, with blonde hair and green eyes. Anyone with information is asked to call the El Paso County Sheriff's Office at 719-390-5555 or Crime Stoppers at 719-634-STOP.

Complete coverage of Kara Nichols on Crimesider