Derek Horton is a man from Battle Creek Michigan who just led police to the remains of Amber Griffin. According to police reports Amber Griffin went missing two years ago and her boyfriend Derek Horton was always the main suspect in her disappearance. Derek Horton would lead Battle Creek police to a shallow grave where the remains that were found are believed to be Amber Griffin. Derek Horton who has been charged with murder was in the middle of a trial when he suddenly changed his plea to guilty and as part of the agreement led police to her body. Derek Horton is now facing up to life in prison
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Police in Battle Creek are continuing their search for a missing woman’s body.
The search comes after the man accused of killing his girlfriend pleaded no contest to second-degree murder, Calhoun County Prosecutor David Gilbert confirmed to FOX 17.
Derek Horton was suspected of killing Amber Griffin and burying her body in 2020.
As part of the plea agreement, the open murder charge was dropped, Gilbert confirms. He also says Horton agreed to lead investigators to Griffin’s body.
The Battle Creek Police Department says they were unable to locate Griffin after a search of an area on Battle Creek’s north side on Wednesday. Police resumed the search Thursday morning.
FOX 17 spoke with Amber Griffin’s mom on Wednesday. She says she searched that area several times in the past
Prosecutors say the plea deal will be dropped if police are unable to find her.
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Battle Creek Police confirmed they found the likely remains of Amber Griffin following a two-day search Thursday afternoon.
The skeletal remains were dug up three feet underground in the woods south of Waubascon Road between Limit Street and Hubbard Street around 1:45 p.m. Thursday. Griffin’s boyfriend, Derek Horton, led police to the body as part of a plea deal struck on the second day of his murder trial for Griffin’s killing.
“It’s very gratifying, it’s something we wanted to accomplish from the beginning,” Battle Creek Police Lt. Joel Case said during a Thursday afternoon news conference.
Officers were taken to Griffin’s apparent after Horton, 27, agreed to reveal her body’s location as part of a plea deal.
Horton pleaded no contest to second degree murder Wednesday, which carries a minimum sentence of 15 years. The plea deal is contingent on finding Griffin’s remains. Griffin was reported missing by her mother on June 24, 2020.
Case said Horton pointed to four locations police sectioned off as part of their search efforts. Police said they discovered the remains at the third site they searched.
Excavators and two Michigan State Police K-9 cadaver dog’s were brought in to speed up the search efforts Thursday.
“Even when we brought (Horton) out there things don’t look exactly the same. It’s not like you can say, ‘X marks the spot right there.’ Unfortunately with the fact that it’s been almost two years now, you have leaves that have fallen, you have different foliage, you have two winters that have passed now,” Case said
Medical examiners still need to confirm the remains they found are Griffin’s. Police said those will be done with DNA or dental records since the body is decomposed.
Investigators said they notified Griffin’s mother about the developments. “She’s emotional, but she’s happy,” said Case.
Case said finding Griffin’s body and a successful prosecution for her murder were the results they were looking for from the beginning.
In 2020, police theorized Griffin was buried, but didn’t know where. Dozens of searches were conducted prior to the ones conducted Wednesday and Thursday. Volunteer groups, search and rescue teams, helicopters, drones and cadaver dogs were all deployed with no luck.
Investigators had previously searched an abandoned home at 157 Waubascon Rd. in 2020 after Griffin was reported missing. At that time, police said they found a pair of women’s pants with Griffin’s blood on them.
Police also located drag marks that took them to a nearby trail where investigators found a receipt for a shovel. The receipt was dated June 23, 2020 at 2:31 p.m., about 12 hours after prosecutors said a 911 call was made from Griffin’s phone.
Griffin was last seen alive while at a house party on Oneita Street with Horton. Prosecutors said Griffin made a 911 call from a home at 266 Oneita Street around 2 a.m. June 23, 2020, but the call was quickly disconnected.
Prosecutors claimed the 911 audio recoding captured Horton assaulting Griffin following an argument. Griffin’s blood was found on all three levels of the home, police said.
The Oneita Street home is owned by the same man who owned the abandoned property on Waubascon Road.
Haggerty, 29, was charged with tampering with evidence and lying to police in July 2020. Police said Haggerty drove Horton to a hardware store on June 23, 2020 to buy the shovel police believe Horton used to bury Griffin’s body.
Haggerty is set to appear for a pre-trial hearing in Calhoun County District Court April 12.
Case declined to comment on Haggerty or anyone else’s involvement in helping Horton.