LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- El Paso County (Colo.) Sheriff’s investigators said 19-year-old Kara Nichols of Colorado Springs told her roommate Oct. 9 that she might go to Denver.
The aspiring model has not been seen since.
Her picture, however, popped up on a Las Vegas escort website.
Investigators, however, said there is no evidence Nichols is in Las Vegas or that she posted the picture.
They said she may be the victim of a subculture that exploits wannabe models.
Ken Henderson, CEO of Las Vegas modeling and entertainment business BEST Agency, said the exploitation happens more often as more models turn to the internet for exposure.
“Really it's creating a very unsafe environment for them out there,” said Henderson. “I've seen these sites where the models are registering themselves, but they put their name, they put their contact info. I mean they're really opening themselves up. I just think it's kind of dangerous.”
That danger even extends to Facebook.
Las Vegas mom Marlo O'Donnell said her daughter's Facebook was hacked.
“A Russian gang has taken over several young teens' Facebook accounts,” O’Donnell said about the response she got when trying to retrieve her daughter’s account. “They’re able to take their pictures and exploit their pictures and put them on porn sites.”
News 3’s Reed Cowan interviewed O’Donnell for a special report.
Local FBI cyber experts told Cowan that the hacking “happens all the time.”
The experts said “photos on Facebook can easily be stolen, and posted on porn.”
In the case of Nichols, investigators said they do not know who posted her picture to a local escort website or why.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told News 3 they have not been asked to assist in the missing teen’s investigation.
Police did say they get calls from people claiming their pictures have been taken from the internet and used for other purposes without their permission.
Police said they do not pursue these claims because they are not even sure if the action is a crime.