Sentencing hearing for former Fremont County deputy set for Wednesday

Deputy has been charged with abuse of public records
Posted at 6:20 PM, Feb 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-25 20:41:29-05

CENTENNIAL, Colo.-- Robert Dodd isn't responsible for the murder of 17-year-old Candace Hiltz, but he has made it nearly impossible for her killer to face trial.

For that, the former Fremont County deputy will spend 15 days in jail, and why Hiltz's family fears this cold case will never be closed.

Heather Hiltz will never forget her sister-in-law, Candace.

“She was very intelligent, very funny. Will protect you at all costs,” Hiltz said.

It's been 14 years since Candace's murder, but Hiltz and her family are still pushing for answers, to finally reveal what happened to their lost family member.

“It’s horrible. It’s heartbreaking. Seeing this with my family... a lot of us can’t barely speak about it, it’s very painful and frustrating,” she added.

On Wednesday, they’ll all be back in Fremont County Court, as a detective from that case faces official sentencing for abuse of public records.

“Rick Ratzlaff is the one. If he hadn’t stepped forward, we never would’ve known that Dodd took this evidence,” Hiltz said.

Ratzlaff bought a storage unit back in 2016. He found Dodd's old police uniforms and evidence allegedly connected to Candace's case. The Fremont County Sheriff's records custodian reported that right after hearing the locker was sold, Dodd changed the archive report on the Hiltz murder case.

“When they originally found the murder evidence we had went to court and he had fought it,” Hiltz said.

Dodd tried multiple times to appeal and failed. The Hiltz family isn't happy with his 15-day sentence.

“I think it’s a joke. Our whole family thinks it’s a joke,” she said. “We will be there and I hope when he looks me in the eye he sees my sister,” Hiltz said.

They blame what happened with the evidence as a reason their loved one's killer still hasn't been found.

“Our family has suffered enough, you know? We deserve justice and above anything, Candi deserves justice. She didn’t deserve this,” Hiltz said.

They know finding the killer is still a long shot, but they're still searching at all costs.