Six months ago, a 27-year-old law school graduate's life was cut short.
Macon police found Lauren Giddings' dismembered body outside her apartment at the Barristers Hall complex on Georgia Avenue.
While her neighbor and classmate Stephen McDaniel is now in jail, charged with her murder, many questions still remain.
Kathy Mann lives in North Georgia, and is Lauren Giddings' mother's cousin. She says the family is leaning on each other, to get a little stronger each day.
Mann says they have a hole in their hearts. And six months later, she says, "I think that everybody feels the reality of Lauren's death. And at the same time, it's simply unbelievable. It's still hard to put our heads around the fact that this happened and that it's real."
She adds, "all of us share pictures of Lauren back and forth with each other, of all the good times we've had and all of us share conversations that we remember that we had and we look at those good times. That gives us a smile, to remember her."
On June 30th, Macon Police found part of Lauren Giddings' body in a trash can outside her downtown Macon apartment.
They still have not said exactly how, when, or why she was killed. But, they think they know who did it.
On that June 30th day, Stephen McDaniel made himself public as a concerned classmate looking for his neighbor. Now, he's accused of killing her.
McDaniel has been in the Bibb County Jail since the day after police found Giddings' body. He was initially charged with two unrelated burglaries. He was charged with Giddings' murder in August, then 30 counts of child exploitation. Those 30 counts stem from child pornography investigators found on a flash drive in his apartment.
Mann says it was an emotional moment when the family found out earlier this month that District Attorney Greg Winters would seek the death penalty.
She says, "I think we all cried and it was a very emotional announcement for us. I think that the person who did this to Lauren, that it may have been premeditated, and it may meet standards of the death penalty."
But she says no matter the punishment, it doesn't get back what they've lost.
"I miss her laugh, she had just a wonderful sense of humor and she could see joy in so many things," she says.
She says she hopes investigators can search McDaniel's grandfather's farm. He allegedly visited the site the week before police found Giddings' body.
"It seems like a logical step, but we know that legally there's certain protocol and there has to be something that meets the standard of the law in order for that to happen. And so the DA has always been very open to our conversations and sympathetic with what we would like to happen but we understand that he has to go by the letter of the law and so it basically is in their hands," she says.
In a brief phone conversation with Lauren Giddings' father, Bill Giddings, he says, "things have been really tough. We're just trying to survive the holidays. We want to find out where her remains are."
The next step in the case will be Stephen McDaniel's arraignment on the murder charge.
He is also awaiting trail on the 30 counts of child exploitation.
We contacted District Attorney Greg Winters about the case, but he said it would not be appropriate for him to talk about it at this time.
We also called McDaniel's lawyer Floyd Buford. He did not return our calls.