The boyfriend accused of murder will be heading to trial after the judge says there is enough evidence to provide probable cause that Amber Griffin is deceased.

Eight long months after a Battle Creek mother went missing, the man accused of the disappearance and murder of his girlfriend last June will stand trial in her death. The final witnesses and closing arguments took place today (February 9, 2021) in a virtual preliminary hearing for Derek Horton. The preliminary hearing began on January 19, 2021.

Derek Horton (provided by Battle Creek Police Department)
Derek Horton (provided by Battle Creek Police Department)

Horton was charged with open murder in the disappearance and death of Amber Griffin. Amber Griffin, a 27-year-old mother of two, was reported missing in June of 2020 by her boyfriend Derek Horton and her mother, Carman Griffin. To date, Amber has not been located despite numerous attempts to search for her by law enforcement and volunteers.

Calhoun County District Court Judge Tracie Tomak stated following closing arguments that there was enough evidence to provide probable cause that Griffin is deceased. That evidence includes three separate locations of blood that was identified as Amber Griffin's and the shovel that was purchased at Mix Hardware with a receipt and video from the business that positively identifies Horton. The case now heads to the circuit court for trial.

In the closing argument, Horton’s attorney argued that even though there was evidence that would convince probable cause, Griffin has not been found.

We reached out to Amber's mother her thoughts on the judge's decision:

I'm just happy that the police did the best job through all of this and I know he killed her. No one else would hurt Amber and there is so much blood evidence at too many locations. I just want justice for my daughter. It's so wrong that he didn't care enough about her kids to just let her go. He was so controlling he didn't want her to have the life she deserved. He has no heart or soul, pure evil no remorse. He never called from jail to check on where she was. I'm just happy we are going to trial and pray he tells me where he put my daughter because we miss her. Her kids have to grow up with no parents there dad is doing life in prison it's not fair. Amber was the best girl, so sweet, loved life and everyone she met loved her. I just wish people would speak up for her so I can bring her home she didn't deserve this. ~Carman Griffin

The heartbreaking disappearance has garnered many headlines across the country. Horton remains behind bars without bond and a trial date has not been determined at this time.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Calhoun County Consolidated Dispatch Center at 269-781-0911 or Silent Observer at 269-964-3888.

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