Macon police spent almost four hours Wednesday afternoon searching the apartment of Stephen McDaniel, whom police have described as a person of interest in the slaying of his neighbor, Lauren Giddings.
Four officers entered the 25-year-old’s upstairs apartment, No. 4, about 2:10 p.m. Wednesday. They carried several brown paper bags with them and later took a large brown plastic container inside. About 6 p.m., they came out with four large paper bags and the plastic container.
Wednesday’s search marked at least the third time that authorities have searched the apartment for evidence. McDaniel, like Giddings a recent graduate of Mercer law school, lived next door to Giddings.
Police spokeswoman Jami Gaudet confirmed that the search was in connection with the Giddings homicide investigation. The 27-year-old’s torso was found in a trash bin June 30, wrapped in plastic.
Giddings was last seen June 25. Police have said she bought food at a drive-through of a nearby Zaxby’s restaurant about 6:30 p.m. They found her meal receipt and food bag inside her apartment after a friend reported Giddings missing June 30.
McDaniel is charged with two counts of burglary stemming from two incidents at the complex two winters ago. He has not been charged in connection with Giddings’ death, and police have not called him a suspect. He is being held in isolation at the Bibb County jail on the burglary charges.
During the course of their investigation, police found a master key inside McDaniel’s apartment that could open any apartment in the Barristers Hall apartment complex on Georgia Avenue. Their probe also includes the discovery of purchases McDaniel made at a Wal-Mart store, but police will not say whether they think those purchases have any bearing on the Giddings investigation.
A hearing is scheduled for Friday to determine whether McDaniel’s previous work with the Bibb County District Attorney’s Office should disqualify local prosecutors from handling the burglary charges against him.
Gaudet said police still don’t know when results of tests performed by the FBI on evidence will be returned. Earlier this month, they said they hoped to get some results by early in the week of July 10.
“We still aren’t sure if we’re getting partial or full results,” she said Wednesday outside the apartments. “They continue to tell us to hang on.”
Asked whether officers had obtained a search warrant for Wednesday’s search, Gaudet declined to comment.
She said officers will continue processing evidence and will return to the apartment as needed until the FBI returns lab results on previously collected evidence.
“They’re continuing to work the clues and work the evidence,” Gaudet said of investigators. “We want to get the right person, and we want to get (the investigation completed) the right way so it’s airtight.”