In June 2011, 27-year-old Lauren Giddings was living in Macon, GA, and preparing to take the notoriously difficult bar examination. She was a smart young woman whom people said had a bright future ahead of her. Unfortunately, she wouldn’t be around to reap the fruits of her labor. Her neighbor, Stephen McDaniel, a fellow law student, ended her life her and then dismembered her body.
McDaniel cried on a TV interview, like others who have faked remorse after committing nefarious actions, quickly garnering the attention of the police. Had he not had such a breakdown, the case may have gone unsolved. But with the help of a strong police investigation and a deal made by the prosecution, the mystery of what happened to Lauren Giddings eventually poured out McDaniel. It turns out he was a manipulative and calculating social outcast who had stalked Giddings for years, not a heartbroken, well-meaning neighbor.
McDaniel Snuck Into Giddings's Apartment Using A Master Key
Giddings and McDaniel had been neighbors for a few years, and he had shown an interest in her, even asking her out a few times. She reportedly was always polite. That all changed on the morning of June 26, 2011. McDaniel entered Giddings's apartment without authorization using a master key.
Giddings, asleep in her bedroom, woke up to find McDaniel standing above her bed. She shouted at him to get out, at which point he assailed her. The two wrestled to the floor and Giddings ripped off McDaniel's mask. McDaniel quickly gained control and strangled her. He then dragged her body into her bathtub. He left the apartment, only to return later to dismember her with a hacksaw.
McDaniel Stashed Giddings's Body In Trash Cans, Then Feigned Shock When The Cops Arrived
Giddings's dismembered body was discovered in the trash cans outside of the apartment complex. McDaniel had removed her head and limbs with a hacksaw in her bathtub, then hauled them outside. After the discovery, a news crew showed up and interviewed residents of the complex.
Police Quickly Suspected McDaniel And Took Him In For QuestioningPhoto: Woody Marshall/Macon Telegraph/MCT / Getty
The police were alerted to the odd behavior of McDaniel and immediately brought him in for questioning. He continued to act strangely in the interview itself and claimed to have no knowledge of what could have happened to Giddings.
He also acted very strangely when his apartment was searched, chugging water and refusing to take a lie detector test.
Police Found Giddings's Underwear And The Packaging From The Hacksaw Inside McDaniel's Apartment
Several pieces of evidence discovered at McDaniel's home made it clear that he was the culprit. Not only did he have a large amount of surveillance data, but a master key to all of the apartments in the complex was found. In addition, authorities discovered the packaging for the hacksaw that McDaniel had used on the body.
The saw was also found in a storage closet in the apartment complex and DNA-test results showed that the blood on the saw matched Giddings's DNA. A pair of underwear belonging to Giddings was also located in McDaniel's dresser.