Michigan murder suspect leads cops to Amber Griffin’s grave

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Michigan murder suspect leads cops to Amber Griffin's grave

A Michigan murder suspect led cops to a shallow grave that held the likely remains of his girlfriend who disappeared nearly two years ago, police said.

Skeletal remains believed to be those of Amber Griffin, 27, were discovered Thursday buried about 3-feet deep in a wooded area in Battle Creek, police told reporters at the site Thursday.

Battle Creek Police Det. Sgt. Joel Case said Griffin’s former boyfriend of five years, Derek Depree Horton, directed cops to the remains on the second day of his trial Wednesday as part of a tentative plea agreement.

Horton, who was charged with Griffin’s slaying six days after she vanished, will plead guilty to second-degree murder as part of the deal. He’s set to be sentenced on April 18.

Tests will be conducted to confirm the remains are Griffin’s, Case said, but they were found in an area Horton “identified as a likely spot” where she was buried. Case declined to say if investigators believe he had help interring his then-girlfriend’s body.

Derek Depree Horton directed cops to the remains on the second day of his trial Wednesday.
Derek Depree Horton directed cops to the remains on the second day of his trial Wednesday.
Alyssa Keown | Battle Creek Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK
Case said investigators told Griffin’s mother they believe her body has been found, nearly two years after she disappeared.
Case said investigators told Griffin’s mother they believe her body has been found.
Alyssa Keown | Battle Creek Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK
The Battle Creek Police Department holds a press conference after locating the remains.
The Battle Creek Police Department holds a press conference after locating the remains.
Alyssa Keown | Battle Creek Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Griffin, a mother of two, was last seen on June 23, 2020, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported. Horton told cops at the time they had gotten into an argument, prompting her to walk away from their shared mobile home in Bedford Township.

Cops later discovered a 911 call was made from Griffin’s phone a day earlier – when investigators believe she and Horton were arguing at a party. Police then found signs of a struggle and blood at the home, as well as in Griffin’s car, the newspaper reported.

Derek Depree Horton was charged with Griffin's murder days after she vanished.
Derek Depree Horton was charged with Griffin’s murder days after she vanished.
Battle Creek Police Department

Investigators also found a pair of women’s leggings in a wooded area near the home, as well as a receipt for an $8 shovel purchased on the day Griffin was last seen. Video from a hardware store showed Horton buying the tool, police said.

Case said investigators told Griffin’s mother they believe her body has been found, nearly two years after she disappeared.

“She is emotional, but she’s happy,” Case told reporters. “This is one of the two end results we were looking for. One was successful prosecution with him going to prison, and second was returning the human remains to the family so they can have a proper burial with their mother.”

Griffin’s friends said they were relieved her remains had likely been located.

Trooper Joe Bozek follows his dog, Dexter, as they search for the body of Amber Griffin.
Trooper Joe Bozek follows his dog, Dexter, as they search for the body of Amber Griffin.
Trace Christenson/The Enquirer

“She had a bubbly personality, she loved to laugh, joke around,” close friend Stacy Green told WWMT. “We love her, we’re going to miss her, but we will keep her memory alive.”

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