CANON CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – A Canon City man says he may have cracked an unsolved homicide case in the most unlikely way.
Last month, Rick Ratzlaff won a storage unit at an auction.
“There were a lot of police lights off of cop cars, and I wanted one, so I kept bidding on it until I got it,” Ratzlaff said.
After winning the storage unit, Ratzlaff was disturbed by what he found inside; evidence from the 2006 murder of 17-year-old Candace Hiltz.
“I didn’t think it would ever be solved, but I really never thought it would be someone trying to hide something,” said Candace’s sister, Dawn Walker.
When Ratzlaff reached out to law enforcement, he says Fremont County Sheriff James Beicker met him to collect the evidence without the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s involvement.
Rick’s wife, Arin Reed, recorded audio of their meeting at a storage unit.
Sheriff James Beicker: “This is odd. This is really odd.”
Beicker: “So there were bloody clothes? There was a sock in there?
Arin Reed: “There’s a sock. There’s a shell casing. There’s a hatchet. There’s a rope.”
Beicker: “Would you be willing to let us…”
Ratzlaff: “Go through it all?”
Ratzlaff has since learned the unit was rented by an active Fremont County Deputy prior to being auctioned off.
With new evidence, Candace’s family members hope a break in the case will give them closure they’ve been praying for.
“She definitely didn’t deserve that; she deserves justice,” said Walker.
In a statement, the CBI says they are working with the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office to investigate how the evidence ended up at an off-site facility.
The identity of the deputy who once rented the unit has not been released.