WASHINGTON COUNTY, Mo. – A Missouri mom remains haunted by her son’s last text message – “help me please.” That text is now the key piece of evidence charging a man with murder.

Last Friday, a judge ruled there’s enough evidence to call Christian Hildebrandt’s death a murder and ordered the case to trial.

Derek Politte yelled out in court during the ruling: “He was my best friend. I had no motive to hurt him!”

Hildebrandt’s mother, Kim Little, cried.

“I felt finally vindicated because I’ve been saying this since the beginning, and no one would listen,” she said.

Hildebrandt was found stabbed in the neck last March 2021. He was 28.

His last text message said – “Help me please left with Derek Policy.” Investigators believe he was talking about Derek Politte and that his phone’s talk-to-text function changed “Politte” to “Policy.”

Little continued: “I believe my son was brave and smart for sending me that message and I pray that that’s the thing that gets him justice.”

Prosecutors established at a hearing Friday that Politte took Hildebrandt to a home in a remote area of Fletcher, Missouri.

The man who lived out there testified that they all smoked marijuana and that Hildebrandt appeared to get sick and walked off into the woods. The man testified that Politte drove off after him and returned in the time it would take to smoke one cigarette.

Court records indicate Politte posted on Facebook, “I have been looking for him with no luck for 2 hours. I’m going back to continue searching for him and I’m starting to worry.”

The man who was there that day said Politte sat on his front porch the entire time. Hildebrandt was later found by police in an area that a state police investigator testified is a 90-second walk from the home.

That investigator testified he found the ground disturbed as if there’d been a fight and mud all over the victim. He also said he saw Hildebrandt’s jacket pulled from him as if he’d been in a struggle.

The court record contains witness statements that Hildebrandt feared Politte, one witness saying Hildebrandt told him, “(He) and Politte had ‘gotten into it’ and that Politte was ‘going to (blank) Christian up.’”

Another witness claimed Hildebrandt only left with Politte that day, “…to make some money” moving appliances.

A defense attorney argued for Politte’s release, saying not only was there no direct evidence Politte committed murder, she also said police did not investigate the third person smoking marijuana with them that day.

A judge disagreed when he said Politte’s inconsistent statements alone are enough to hold him over for a murder trial.