BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (NewsNation Now) — A criminal investigation has officially been opened into the death of a 23-year-old Connecticut Black woman who died while on a date with a man she met on a popular dating app.
The Bridgeport Police Department announced Tuesday that it will investigate the death of Lauren Smith-Fields as a crime, and it will be assisted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
“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 (sic) to her untimely death,” Bridgeport Chief of Police Rebeca Garcia said in a statement to NewsNation.
On Monday, the Office of the Chief State Medical Examiner released its findings in the case, saying Smith-Field’s death was accidental and it was due to the combined effects of fentanyl, promethazine, hydroxyzine and alcohol.
Smith-Fields was found dead in her home Dec. 12 after going on a date with an older white male, who she met on Bumble. The man who was with Fields told police that they were drinking shots of tequila and 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 called 911.
Since the beginning, her family has questioned what really happened to her and whether the police properly investigated her death.
“To lose your daughter, your only daughter, your baby girl, at such a ripe age of 23 years old and to be treated the way we [were] treated by the Bridgeport police station and the department is unacceptable,” said Everett Smith, Lauren’s father.
The family held a rally Sunday to demand answers from officials and to honor the life of the social media influencer. The police are now investigating where the drugs came from and whether it’s possible someone gave Lauren a lethal cocktail.
The family attorney, Darnell Crosland, also filed a notice of a lawsuit against the city of Bridgeport, hoping it will spur action in the case.
“So we are very upset and we had to file this notice of a lawsuit because we need to compel answers and we need to compel due process,” he said.
The family claims the police didn’t collect enough information to validate a decision that it was an accident and that they were “racially insensitive” to her case. Her parents also said they didn’t find out about her death until they discovered a note on her front door from her landlord.
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.