In August 2006, teenage mother Candace Hiltz was murdered in the family trailer in Fremont County, Colorado. The murder’s severity stunned the country, and the police faced numerous challenges, including one that was very personal. The killer(s) are still on the loose, despite a decade of inquiry. The killer may be someone, according to Candace’s mother, but according to the cops, it may be someone else.

The difficult case is meticulously followed in “Valley of the Damned: Impossible Perpetrator” on Investigation Discovery, which also lays out the facts so that viewers may understand them. We’ve got your back if you’re curious and want to learn everything about the case. So let’s get started, shall we?

Candace Hiltz

Candace Hiltz

How Did Candace Hiltz Die?

On December 22, 1988, Candace Colleary Hiltz was born in Canon City, Fremont County, Colorado. She was enrolled in an online program at Brigham Young University and close to receiving her degree. Dolores Hiltz, her mother, recalled Candace’s ambition to attend Stanford Law School and eventually serve as a justice of the US Supreme Court. The 16-year-old had a baby daughter named Paige with her boyfriend Jesse Weaver. She was also a teen mother. Paige was born with hydrocephalus, an uncommon condition.

Candace was opinionated, which often got her into problems, despite being witty and intelligent. Even though they might be upset, she had a talent for telling people what she really thought of them. Dolores thought it was a big part of her horrible killing. On August 15, 2006, Jesse arrived at Candace’s trailer in the Copper Gulch community to find his daughter wailing by herself in her cot. Candace lived there with her mother and daughter. He noticed blood in the trailer’s corridor as well. When Dolores arrived, she discovered her daughter’s practically beheaded body tucked beneath a bed.

When the Fremont County Sheriff’s officers arrived at the site, they found the woman’s body wrapped in a green quilt and seven gunshot wounds. Five gunshots to the back of her skull, one to the face, one to her left breast. According to the autopsy report, three separate firearms were used: a 45 Long Colt was used for the face, a.22 caliber shotgun for the skull, and a.410 shotgun for the face. There was no evidence of a sexual assault or robbery, according to the police.

Who Killed Candace Hiltz?

After Jesse Weaver was exonerated, James “Jimmy” Hiltz, Candace’s brother, was named as the main suspect in the slaying. Jimmy, who was charged with a number of local burglaries, had a number of psychiatric problems that caused him to be estranged from his wife and children. He formerly lived in the hills behind the trailer where Candace resided with her mother and daughter like a homeless person because of his social anxiety.

A 3-day manhunt was launched after a murder when Jimmy was not discovered, and he was eventually taken into custody. However, the detectives were unable to link him to his sister’s death. Jimmy was a regular patient at the Colorado Mental Health Institute. He was found not guilty of a burglary charge due to mental illness, and as a result, he was given the punishment of being readmitted to the mental facility. The case quickly went cold because there were no new leads or suspects.

But ten years later, in December 2016, a resident of Canon City named Rick Ratzlaff purchased a storage shed that had once belonged to Lt. Det. Robert Dodd, a detective working on the case of Candace’s murder. Rick was reading the material when he came across a manila packet labeled “Evidence,” which included a blood-stained rope, an ax, and bloody socks. The Colorado Bureau of Inquiry launched an investigation after receiving the package, which was thought to contain information related to the murder of Candace.

In 2018, Robert was found guilty of tampering with public records and an official misdemeanor and received a 15-day prison term. Dolores initially held her son Jimmy responsible for the murder, but she eventually placed the blame on the police. Dolores was questioned by a deputy about Jimmy’s possible trespassing at the Hiltz residence on August 10, 2006, which led to an argument with Candace. The Hiltz family discovered their dog’s body in the woodland behind their trailer three days after the altercation.

Dolores insists that the police were the ones who reportedly killed her daughter and the dog and botched the investigation to conceal their crime. The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, however, vehemently refutes the accusations and has even provided proof that connects Jimmy to the killing. The testimony of Jimmy’s ex-wife and Jesse, who both described Jimmy’s sporadic acts of violence, was available to the police. The murder weapons were among the things taken in a series of local break-ins for which Jimmy had been a suspect.

The most damning piece of evidence, however, is a bone fragment that the detectives discovered close to the house where Jimmy lived at the time of the murder. The investigators have presented their case to the district attorney and it is a match with the victim’s DNA. Dolores vehemently disputes the circumstantial evidence implicating her son in the murder of her daughter as the police wait for action on the investigation, and she maintains that the authorities had something to do with her daughter’s death.

Background Information on Candace Hiltz

Candace Hiltz was born on the 22nd of December in the year 1988 in the city of Caon City, which is located in Fremont County, Colorado. When she was approximately five years old, her father passed away suddenly. She was thought of as a child prodigy at a young age and was already actively practicing calculus by the age of 11 years old.

Her upbringing among several older brothers most likely contributed to her becoming what her peers referred to as a “tomboy.” Her circle of friends and family members shared their observations that she had a strong commitment to advocating for those whose rights had been violated. Even though she was just 5 feet 2 inches tall, she never backed down from a fight against bullies. Her passion for helping people prompted her to decide that she wanted to pursue a career in law and attend Stanford Law School.

Candace Hiltz Murder

Candace Hiltz Murder

College and Pregnancy

She had already completed her third year of college despite being just 17 years old when she enrolled at Brigham Young University. However, during that year, her life underwent significant transformation as a result of the news that she was expecting a child. (I was unable to locate any information about the father of her child; however, if you have any insight into this topic, please share it in the comments below.)

She contemplated putting her education on hold for a few years so that she could devote her full attention to raising her child. She said she wanted her child to be her first priority. Candace’s decision to take a break from school to raise her child won’t put her at a disadvantage academically; on the contrary, it will help her catch up to the other students her age.

She made the decision to participate in the online program offered by Brigham Young, which enabled her to continue her education despite the demands of being a mother. After that, she was granted admission to Stanford Law School.