Funeral set for North Laurel woman slain in Georgia

A funeral for Lauren Giddings, the North Laurel 27-year-old who was killed in Georgia a month ago shortly after graduating from law school there, has been set for Aug. 6.

Giddings' dismembered body was found June 30 outside her apartment complex in Macon, across the street from Mercer University's Walter F. George School of Law.

Although police are still investigating Giddings' death, they released her available remains to her family on July 26, finally allowing them to set a funeral date.

"It's a step in the right direction. But it's also a hard direction to go in because it's making it more realistic," said Kaitlyn Wheeler, Giddings' sister, of the funeral. "It's a step toward closure. Obviously we want the investigation to come to a close."

The family will hold a visitation from 4 to 8 p.m. Aug. 5 at Saint Mary of the Mills Church, at 114 Saint Mary's Place, in Laurel. The funeral well be held at St. Mary's at 6:30 p.m. the next day. Information on a burial is pending.

Meanwhile, Macon police continue to search for the rest of Giddings' body. So far, only her torso has been discovered.

For Wheeler and her family, the search remains critically important.

"We want them to treat it just like it's still a missing person case," Wheeler said. "But obviously, as each day goes by, we feel like it's less and less likely that we'll find her."

According to police, Giddings hadn't been seen since the evening of June 25, when she got food from a drive-through eatery in Macon, according to video surveillance from the restaurant.

Police have made no arrests in the case and have released little about the circumstances involving her death or a possible motive.

"There's not but four people that know everything about this case, and that's the two lead detectives, Maj. (Charles) Stone and myself," Macon Police Chief Mike Burns said during a July 27 press conference. "We've gotten several e-mails from the FBI telling us about things that we've sent, analysis, but I am not at liberty to tell you what they are today."

Although Burns would not release details about the investigation, he did say he was "going to get with the district attorney" on Aug. 1 to discuss possible leads.

Also, a bond hearing for Stephen Mark McDaniel, 25, who lived in the same apartment building as Giddings and has been named by police as a person of interest in their investigation, is set for Aug. 4.

Macon police arrested McDaniel on July 1 after he admitted to burglarizing a neighbor's apartment over two years ago. McDaniel admitted to that burglary when police questioned him about Giddings' disappearance and murder on June 30.

Earlier this month, police sent some pieces of evidenced gathered from McDaniel's apartment to an FBI lab for forensic testing. Additionally, police say they found a master key to the apartment complex in his apartment.

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