Lauren Smith-Fields’ death ruled an accident, family seeks answers

Northeast

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (NewsNation Now) — Family members of a 23-year-old Connecticut Black woman, who was found dead after a date with a white man she met on a dating app, is suing a police department after not being satisfied with the investigation into her death.

On Monday, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner revealed Lauren Smith-Fields’ cause of death. According to the OCME, Smith-Fields died from “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl, promethazine, hydroxyzine and alcohol.” The Chief Medical Examiner’s Office ruled her death an accident.

The family feels police didn’t collect enough information to validate a decision that it was an accident.

“No one is going to discard my daughter like she is rubbish,” Fields said Sunday at a rally to demand answers from officials and to honor the life of the social media influencer.

Her parents, Shantell Fields and Everett Smith, said they had been trying to get in touch with Smith-Fields and didn’t find out about her death until they discovered a note on her front door from her landlord two days later. 

Sunday would have been her daughter’s 24th birthday. The investigation into Smith’s death has gained national attention after police were called to her Bridgeport, Connecticut home Dec. 12. 

According to an incident report, Smith-Fields met a man on the dating site Bumble. The report says the man came to her apartment for a first date the night before. He told them 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 to find that “blood was coming out of her right nostril” and “she was not breathing.” That’s when he called 911.

The family wants to know why the police are corroborating the man’s story.

“[When] her brother asked this detective, ‘Are you going to investigate this incident?’ He responded to Lakeem (her brother) and said, ‘Well, there’s nothing to investigate … he seems like a really nice guy,’” said Smith’s cousin, Alexis Farrow.

The possible DNA evidence at the scene, which may have contradicted the man’s account, was not collected for two weeks, according to the family’s attorney, Darnell Crosland. 

“On the 29th of December, they had the police come and collect this stuff. And the police had the nerve to tell them, ‘Is anything else you think that we should collect?’” 

Crosland’s office confirmed with the State Laboratory that they never received physical evidence from Smith-Fields’ home. He has 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.

NewsNation reached out to the city of Bridgeport for a response to the family lawsuit and Monday’s ruling that Field’s death was an accidental overdose, but we haven’t heard back yet. 

The Bridgeport Police Department encourages anyone with information regarding Smith-Fields’ case to contact them at 203-581-5219 or the anonymous TIPS Line at 203-576-TIPS.

NewsNation affiliate WTNH contributed to this report.

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