It has been a few weeks since we last wrote at length about the investigation into the murder of Lauren Giddings. As you may recall, Giddings was a recent graduate of Mercer Law School whose decapitated torso was found on June 30 in Macon, Georgia.
A former neighbor and classmate of Giddings, Stephen M. McDaniel, 25, has been charged with her murder. McDaniel is being held at the Bibb County jail, where he has been for several weeks.
There have been a few recent developments in the case — nothing major, but still worth noting….
First, the search for additional remains of Lauren Giddings continues. The Macon Telegraph reports:
An effort is under way to gather volunteers and donations of equipment to help search a Twiggs County landfill in hopes of finding more of slain Mercer University law graduate Lauren Giddings’ remains.
Macon police are working with the FBI and Giddings’ family to launch a second search at the landfill, but the search could cost $50,000 or more per day. A backhoe and a few off-road trucks are needed, as are workers to drive the equipment and vehicles.
In light of the cost of the search, it’s understandable why some — including Lauren’s father, Bill Giddings, and one of her law professors, David Oedel — have publicly asked for Stephen McDaniel to share any information he might have about the location of Lauren’s remains. But McDaniel has not said anything; he continues to maintain his innocence.
The Giddings family welcomes any assistance in the search:
Kaitlyn Wheeler, Lauren Giddings’ 24-year-old sister, said her family has been hesitant to ask for public help in searching for her sister’s remains because of the lack of clues on where to look.
“It’s a shot in the dark, but any effort to find her body will be welcomed,” she said of the search.
Second, law enforcement authorities continue to gather and evaluate evidence in the case:
As investigators continue the fine-toothed probe of their prime suspect, 25-year-old Stephen Mark McDaniel, and his belongings, authorities are not just scouring his computer and a computer that belonged to his alleged victim.
They are also examining electronics, including flash drives, memory cards and cameras, a law enforcement source said. Police have submitted more than 200 pieces of evidence to the FBI and GBI during the course of the investigation.
Macon police still are awaiting FBI lab results of possible trace evidence that might have been in McDaniel’s decade-old Geo Prizm or in Giddings’ Mitsubishi Galant. Forensic testing also is incomplete on guns and knives found in McDaniel’s apartment.
Results haven’t been returned from evidence collected from a sexual assault kit performed on Giddings’ body.
The next judicial proceeding in the case is a commitment hearing for McDaniel, scheduled for this Friday, August 26. A commitment hearing is Georgia-speak for a preliminary hearing, held to determine “whether there is probable cause to believe the accused guilty of the crime charged, and if so, to bind him over for indictment by the grand jury.” At this hearing, McDaniel’s lawyer, Floyd Buford, will have the opportunity to question the lead detective on the case.
Perhaps more information about the case will emerge after the hearing. We will keep you posted. If you have information you can share with us — about McDaniel, or Giddings, or the atmosphere right now at Mercer Law — please feel free to email us or text us (646-820-8477).
Volunteers sought to search Twiggs landfill for Giddings remains [Macon Telegraph]
Youngest Giddings sister is college bound [Macon Telegraph]