(WMAZ) -- 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."
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.
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."