BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (NewsNation Now) — The family of a 23-year-old Connecticut Black woman who died while on a date with a man she met on a dating app, says the police did not collect enough information in the days following her death.
Lauren Smith-Fields was found dead in her home on Dec. 12 after going on a date with a white male, 37, whom she met on Bumble. The man who was with Fields told police that they were drinking shots of tequila when Fields became ill. He carried her to her bedroom, laid down next to her and fell asleep. He also told officers he woke up next to Smith-Fields at 6:30 a.m. to find that, “Blood was coming out of her right nostril” and, “She was not breathing.” That’s when he said he called 911.
The Office of the Chief State Medical Examiner ruled Smith-Field’s death as accidental due to the combined effects of fentanyl, promethazine, hydroxyzine and alcohol. Her family has denied her use of drugs. Police are investigating her death as foul play.
Smith-Field’s family claims the police were “racially insensitive” to her case and didn’t collect enough information to validate a decision that it was an accident or thoroughly investigate her date.
“This gentleman gave a statement that was self-serving, and the police just said, ‘Have a nice day. He’s a nice man,'” Attorney Darnell Crosland told NewsNation.
Her family has questioned the validity of the timeline since the beginning and has called for a transparent investigation.
“We want an open, fair, and transparent investigation because they didn’t give us that. They didn’t allow us that, they pretty much discarded my little sister, my only sister,” Tavar Gray-Smith said on “Morning in America.”
“We need answers and we need to be able to be at peace with the situation in some way,” Gray-Smith added.
The police said it will provide a final report after the findings from the medical examiner are released.
“The Bridgeport Police Department continues to treat the untimely death of Lauren Smith-Fields as an active investigation as we are now refocusing our attention and efforts to the factors that lead to her untimely death,” Police Chief Rebeca Garcia said in a statement.
Crosland has filed a notice of a lawsuit against the city of Bridgeport, in a formal effort for answers.
“We know that Lauren doesn’t use drugs doesn’t have a history of using drugs. So the question is, how did those substances get in her body? She was with one person before she died. That person should be targeted and should be investigated, and should be a part of this determination as to how these poisons got in her body,” Crosland said on “Morning in America.”
Crosland says he hopes the criminal investigation will go deeper than a drug investigation and give Smith-Fields due process.
“We want to make sure that she is given the due process that she needs not just to trace where the fentanyl came from … It’s an investigation against crimes against person,” Crossland said.
NewsNation has reached out to the 37-year-old man’s attorney. He is said to be cooperating with police, but we have not heard back yet.
Anyone with information regarding Smith-Fields’ case is urged to contact the Bridgeport Police Department at 203-581-5219 or the anonymous TIPS Line at 203-576-TIPS.