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Police seek remains of Ga. law school grad

Dismembered body of popular student found in Macon

Erik Lesser/Associated Press
Family members enter Lauren Giddings' apartment in Macon, Ga. DNA tests have confirmed that the dismembered remains found outside the apartment were the 27-year-old Giddings.
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MACON, Ga. --- A few hours after Lauren Giddings was reported missing, officers made a macabre discovery outside the recent law school graduate's apartment building: Her dismembered remains.

Mourners set up a memorial outside the apartment of slain Mercer University law school graduate Lauren Giddings.  Erik Lesser/Associated Press
Erik Lesser/Associated Press
Mourners set up a memorial outside the apartment of slain Mercer University law school graduate Lauren Giddings.

DNA tests have confirmed those remains were hers, but investigators are pleading for help finding the rest of her body. Who killed the 27-year-old woman -- and why -- is still a mystery.

Giddings, a tall, popular blonde, graduated from Mercer University Law School in May. She then went home to Laurel, Md., to be in her sister's wedding. She had returned to Macon just long enough to study for the bar exam, consider a couple of job offers and pack her things.

"What seemed to be everything falling into place has turned into a nightmare," Bill Giddings, the slain woman's father, said Thursday in Macon, where her family had gathered. "We can't wait to find who did this, and we can't wait to find the rest of her. It's just wrenching in both cases."

Family and friends said it's hard to imagine why anyone would harm Giddings.

During the three years she studied law at Mercer, the young woman attended Mass every Sunday -- and often several times during the week -- at St. Joseph Catholic Church in downtown Macon, said the church's pastor, the Rev. Allan McDonald. Members of the local running club she belonged to saw a less serious side of Giddings, who as a newcomer hopped into a small creek to cool her legs not realizing the water was deeper than she could stand in. Friend and fellow runner Jason Keith said a soaked Giddings laughed off the goof without a shred of self-consciousness.

She was a striking blond who stood about 6 feet tall, so tall that law professor Sarah Gerwig-Moore said she dreaded standing next to Giddings in group photos.

"We're all shocked and sad. A light has gone out," Gerwig-Moore said. "Mercer is a small, close-knit community, and we've lost a member of the family."

Giddings also had a soft-spot for underdogs. Her professor said she had wanted to be a capital defender, representing suspects facing the death penalty. Neighbors would see her walking her one-eyed dog, Butterbean.

Police say Giddings was last seen by friends during a night out June 25. Keith said he didn't worry after not seeing her for several days, figuring she was hunkered down studying for the bar exam.

A friend reported Giddings missing to police the evening of June 29. Officers found her keys, her cell phone and her wallet inside her apartment, and no sign of a break-in or struggle. They also found an e-mail she had sent her boyfriend, an Atlanta lawyer, saying she feared someone had tried to break into her apartment the week before, said police spokeswoman Jami Gaudet.

Outside the apartment building, an officer smelled a foul odor and found the body. Giddings' father told The Associated Press on Thursday that police found only a torso. Police Chief Mike Burns said Thursday that he could not release more details on the case.

Burns did acknowledge police are still looking for some of the woman's remains at a news conference Wednesday, when he announced that DNA tests -- using hair from a brush that belonged to Giddings -- confirmed she was the victim.

Gaudet said police have been answering a steady stream of calls from Macon residents reporting odd smells or freshly disturbed patches of dirt. They also searched the landfill the same day fresh garbage was delivered, combed the banks of the Ocmulgee River that runs through downtown Macon and used camera probes to peek inside storm drains near the apartment.

So far, they have found nothing.

No arrests have been made in Giddings' slaying, but Gaudet said police have several persons of interest and are working to eliminate them as suspects. A motive for the killing remains unclear, Gaudet said.

A memorial service for Giddings was scheduled Saturday at the Macon church she attended.

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TK3 07/07/11 - 05:24 pm
R.I.P. Ladies, always be

Ladies, always be alert... and armed, as you just never know these days!

Emerydan 07/07/11 - 06:07 pm
I wonder if Nancy Grace will

I wonder if Nancy Grace will be all over this story like the Casey Anthony trial.

jbartley 07/07/11 - 06:10 pm
All you can do is PRAY for

All you can do is PRAY for the family, they will never get over a death of a child. We can hope they catch the person soon!!!!

storiesihaveread 07/07/11 - 06:42 pm
Prayers to the family at this

Prayers to the family at this time!!

scoobynews 07/07/11 - 07:12 pm
What a horrible story! I hope

What a horrible story! I hope they find her murderer.

wondersnevercease 07/07/11 - 07:42 pm
so sad......Why do the good

so sad......Why do the good seem to die and the scum survive?

Piperpig 07/07/11 - 10:39 pm
Myfather15: so you don't

Myfather15: so you don't know if Casey Anthony is guilty of murder but you attack the attorney who defended her for the charge of murder? Court isn't a cafeteria where the attorneys or the jury get to pick the charges. The state determines the charges and the defendant defends them.

What if your daughter or son was a law student who volunteered to help indigent defense to gain experience as a lawyer was found dismembered by some monster. I wonder what you would say to the author of a post such as yours?

faithson 07/08/11 - 09:57 am
@myfather; 'care less' was

@myfather; 'care less' was obvious in your now removed comment. That was my point...

Rise From The Shadows
Rise From The Shadows 07/08/11 - 12:49 pm
Why is this story being kept

Why is this story being kept so quiet? Not even the local news outlets are carrying it yet. This should be relatively huge news even for this area. What gives?

catawba7 07/08/11 - 11:21 pm
Ladies, please get back to

Ladies, please get back to carrying protection other than a cell phone. Please use your extra money to buy pepper spray or ask for it as a gift.
There are pepper sprays on the market, such as the Wildfire 18% which can be available in a 4 ounce “stream” size, and this variety has an effective range of about 15 to 18 feet! Then there are even larger sizes that can shoot a stream up to 20 – 22 feet! Please be very careful and observant and carry a whistle or pepper spray when you travel especially alone. It cannot help you if it is in your purse or left at home. Carry your protection in your hand. Be Safe!

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 07/08/11 - 11:51 pm
A Lawyer that lived near

A Lawyer that lived near confessed to 2 burglaries of Barrister Hall Across the Street from Mercer where this happened but they have not charged him for this. He's still in jail last i looked. There are some unsolved Law school lady murders from there to Athens

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