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$12,000 Reward Offered In Slaying Of Student From Howard Co.

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Lauren Giddings

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MACON, Ga. (WJZ) — There is a reward and there are suspects in the murder and dismemberment of a student from Howard County.  However, there is no end to the heartbreak for the parents of Lauren Giddings, 27.

Weijia Jiang spoke with the couple.

Giddings’ killer is still out there.  Police say the Atholton High graduate was viciously murdered in Macon, Ga., where she earned a law degree in May.  They found her dismembered body on June 30, in a trash can outside her apartment.

“We would like to find out where the rest of her is.  That’s our main concern.  Then we’d like to find out who did it,” said her father, Bill Giddings.

Giddings’ parents and two sisters are desperate for answers.

“This is such a bizarre and gruesome case that I think it would be very hard to deal with if they found it was some psycho amongst them,” said her mother, Karen Giddings.

So far, police have named one person of interest: Giddings’ 25-year-old neighbor and classmate, Stephen McDaniels.  This week, a new tip led to a search warrant of his home. 

When Giddings first went missing, McDaniels spoke out.

“No sign of a struggle, no sign that anyone had broken in, nothing.  She was gone.  All her stuff was there,” he said.

The family says all this is especially difficult because they had just seen Giddings here, at the Laurel home she grew up in, two weeks before her body was found.  She was in town as the maid of honor in her sister’s wedding.

“It’s unbelievable.  How can you process something you can’t believe in your head?” said her sister, Kaitlyn Giddings.

Handwritten notes, family pictures and faith help ease the pain, but the Giddings’ say what they really need is justice.

“We just want to bring this nightmare to an end,” Bill Giddings said.

The FBI is evaluating everything police collected from McDaniels’ apartment.  Meanwhile, he’s being held behind bars for two burglaries unrelated to the murder case.

The family is waiting for Giddings’ body to come home before planning funeral services.

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