FREMONT COUNTY, Colo. - A Fremont County sheriff's lieutenant is under investigation after evidence connected to a 2006 murder case was found in a storage unit. Dawson Ranch Storage sits on the outskirts of Cañon City in Fremont County.
Cañon City resident Rick Ratzlaff bought two of the units at an auction on Dec. 17th. He said it was obvious that one of the units was previously owned by someone in law enforcement.
"From the get-go I knew it was a police officer or sheriff deputy locker because it had uniforms with names I could read," he said.
The name on the uniforms was Lt. Robert Dodd, who is a lieutenant with the Fremont County Sheriff's Office. Ratzlaff said he also found items inside the unit that looked like a part of a criminal case.
"I started going through everything and I saw evidence bags in there and opened them up and couldn't believe what I saw. Bloody socks, weapons and rope," he said.
Ratzlaff later called Sheriff James Beicker to investigate. In an audio recording HERE, Sheriff Beicker is heard admitting the evidence is connected to the 2006 murder of Candace Hiltz.
Ratzlaff later gave Beicker permission to access the storage unit. He says after the sheriff visited, the evidence was gone.
"It was ransacked. Everything was turned upside down and gone through. The evidence that he pointed out to me was gone," Ratzlaff said.
At a news conference Monday, Sheriff Beicker issued a short statement.
"I turned the entire matter over to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. I will not be able to take or answer any further questions," Beicker said.
Candace Hiltz was 17 years old when she found murdered in her home in the Copper Gulch area, just 25 miles west of Cañon City. Her family has been waiting for closure since 2006.
"I'd call and check and ask the police, 'Hey what are you doing to find out who murdered our baby sister?' and they wouldn't talk about it. It was like it just had never happened," said Heather Hiltz, Candace's sister-in-law.
Now with this recent discovery inside the storage unit, Heather says her family is hopeful.
"It's just an amazing sign that the gentleman with the storage unit came forward, I can't thank him enough. I just want to see some peace and justice for me and my family and Candy. She deserves justice, she didn't deserve to die to this day," she said.
Lt. Dodd was placed on routine administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.