Victim’s mom, officers testify at hearing for Battle Creek murder suspect

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

A booking photo of Derek Horton. (Courtesy)

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — A Battle Creek man accused of killing his girlfriend went in front of a judge Tuesday as some of the case against him was laid out in court.

Amber Griffin vanished June 22, 2020. Though her remains have not been found, her longtime boyfriend, Derek Horton, is charged with felony murder in her death.

An undated courtesy photo of Amber Griffin.

Horton had a preliminary hearing during which a Calhoun County prosecutor questioned Griffin’s mother about the last time she saw her daughter and the days that followed. In addition to Griffin’s mother, a human resources administrator from Amber’s place of employment, a hardware store owner and two Battle Creek police officers testified.

One officer recalled speaking with Horton in the days after Griffin’s disappearance. He said there was a dried liquid resembling blood on a car at their shared home.

“It was in several areas — door handles, along the side of the car, the top as if somebody was opening the door or closing it, I believe, on the trunk lid, and this was on three sides of the car that I can recall,” Officer Christopher Hug said.

The preliminary hearing did not wrap up Tuesday. It was tentatively scheduled to resume next week.

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