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Evidence believed to be from unsolved teen’s death found in deputy’s former storage locker

FREMONT COUNTY, Colo. -- A bloody rope and ax believed to be from the unsolved death of a Colorado teenager were found in a storage unit that belonged to a detective -- after the contents of the unit were auctioned off, according to KRDO.

The storage unit was rented by Lt. Robert Dodd with the Fremont County Sheriff's Office. The contents were put up for auction on Dec. 17, after Dodd failed to pay the bill.

The man who purchased the contents told reporters he found several manila envelopes that were marked "evidence."

"The big one had a bloody rope; the smaller manila envelope had two female blood-soaked socks, and the medium one had a weapon fall out the bottom of it. It was a chrome ax that also had blood on it,” Rick Ratzlaff of Cañon City told the Pueblo Chieftan.

Ratzlaff said he also found Fremont County Sheriff’s Office gear and equipment, including uniforms, sirens and lights off of patrol vehicles.

"I knew it was Robbie Dodd’s unit because his uniforms had name badges on them and there were pictures of him in the unit," Ratzlaff told the newspaper.

Ratzlaff said he spoke to Sheriff James Beicker, who admitted the evidence was connected to the death of 17-year-old Candace Hiltz.

Hiltz was found shot to death in the family home in the Copper Gulch area 25 miles southwest of Cañon City in August 2006.

“He says, ‘I hear you have a storage unit that used to be an officer’s.’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Can I get it?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know.’ He said, ‘Well, your life could be in danger here.’ It was like a threat," Ratzlaff said of his conversation with Beicker.

Ratzlaff met the sheriff at the storage unit and Ratzlaff’s wife recorded their meeting. They provided the recording to the Chieftain. (Warning: There is inappropriate language in the recording.)

Beicker said after looking at the items, he contacted the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Beicker said he cataloged and photographed the items before placing them into evidence, but the investigation will be handled exclusively by the CBI.

Dodd was placed on routine administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.