Candace Hiltz was a seventeen year old single mother, a junior at Brigham Young University and a newly accepted student to be at Stanford Law School. She dreamed of becoming a Supreme Court Justice. She had a brilliant level of intelligence, a ferociously protective personality and a great affinity for the law. All of that was destroyed when she was brutally murdered. Her family sought answers, but ultimately discovered that the men charged with solving her murder may have in fact been involved in it.
On August 10th, 2006, a Deputy from the Fremont County Sheriff’s Department in Colorado arrived at the Hiltz family home. He questioned Dolores Hiltz in regard to the whereabouts of her son, James. Sometime during the questioning, Dolores’ daughter Candace became angry by his demeanor and told him to leave. The Deputy threatened to arrest Candace, who then threatened to expose him for taking bribes from local drug dealers.
Three days later, the Hiltz family dog went missing. It was later found tied to a tree and had been killed with a hatchet or small ax. Two days later, on August 15th, Dolores left the home to run some errands. She arrived home three hours later and found her granddaughter unsupervised and crying in her crib. There were pools of blood on the floor and drag marks. Dolores made the grisly discovery of Candace’s body. She had been shot multiple times, wrapped in a green comforter and shoved beneath a bed.
The investigation was shoddy from the beginning, with the lead investigator being the same Deputy who had the verbal altercation with Candace just days earlier. The crime scene wasn’t protected and sealed, evidence was left behind and the prime suspect was Candace’s brother, James. After he was apprehended, he was charged with for breaking into a home and stealing some items, but not the murder of his sister. Over the next ten years, no new leads were developed nor evidence discovered. The Hiltz family and the Fremont County Sheriff’s Department engaged in a rather public exchange of contradictory statements.
Candace’s autopsy showed she had been shot by two to three different weapons and at least two assailants as several shots were projected into her front and back simultaneously. However, there were several errors and contradictions in the report. Then, out of nowhere, a man who purchased an abandoned storage unit discovered vital pieces of evidence related to the murder which had been stolen from evidence and kept there but the Deputy who ran the entire investigation, the very one who had that altercation with Candace.
Theories began to build up accusing the Sheriff’s department of a cover up and even of being complicit in the murder itself. The lead investigator retired amid a torrent of accusations, and just months after, was brought up on charges for his mishandling of evidence as well as tampering with official paperwork.
Was Candace Hiltz murdered in a random act of violence? Did the father of her daughter lash out and take her life? Did her brother James lose control and murder his own sister? Or did the lead investigator play a much more vital role in the very murder he was investigating?