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Police Open Criminal Probe In Lauren Smith-Fields Death After Autopsy Report
The Bridgeport Police have opened a criminal investigation into Lauren Smith-Fields' death after weeks of outrage from her family and the public.
Police in Connecticut have opened a criminal investigation into the overdose death of a young woman who died after going on a date with a man she'd met on Bumble.
Lauren Smith-Fields, 23, was found unresponsive at her Bridgeport apartment on Dec. 12 after a 37-year-old man she met on the matchmaking site called police the morning after a date they'd had. After weeks of outrage from Smith-Field’s family and the public, who have accused the Bridgeport Police of not properly investigating her case, the police have announced that they are opening a criminal investigation, Fox News reports. The Bridgeport Police have not immediately responded to Oxygen.com’s request for comment or confirmation.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner announced on Monday that Smith-Fields died from “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl, promethazine, hydroxyzine and alcohol,” WTNH reports. The medical examiner's office ruled the death accidental.
Smith-Fields' family has been highly critical of the police response to the case. Lakeem Jetter, Smith-Fields's brother, previously told WNBC that police didn’t contact them or collect evidence at the scene.
“Now to find out that all of these substances are in their daughter’s body that basically took her life, they’re so angry right now,” Darnell Crosland, Smith-Fields’ family lawyer told WTNH following the release of the autopsy report. “This looks further like a manslaughter. It looks more like a murder, and if the police don’t start acting fast, we’re going to have a real big problem on our hands.”
Crosland filed a notice of claim on Friday alleging that acting Assistant Police Chief Rebeca Garcia, Mayor Joseph Ganim, and three other police department employees violated the rights of Smith-Fields and her family.
"The Police Department has been racially insensitive to this family and has treated this family with no respect and has violated their civil rights," the notice states, NBC News reports. "They have failed to investigate this matter, and they refuse to view the last person with Lauren Smith-Fields before she died as a person of interest. This behavior is unacceptable."
Smith-Field’s Bumble date, who is white, apparently told Bridgeport Police that he and Smith-Fields drank tequila before Smith-Fields became ill, NBC New York reports. He said he brought Smith-Fields to her bedroom and laid her in her bed before going to sleep next to her. The man reportedly told police that he woke up to find Smith-Fields not breathing, with blood coming out of her right nostril.
Following the release of the autopsy, acting police Chief Rebeca Garcia said that officials are focusing on "the factors that led to her untimely death," CNN reports.
Hundreds took to the streets on Sunday to demand justice for Smith-Fields on her birthday, demanding that her death be properly investigated, the Connecticut Post reports.
"They wanted us to forget about our daughter, their sister, our loved one," Smith-Fields' mother, Shantell Fields, told WNBC. "They thought they were just going to throw her away like she was garbage, like she wasn't important, like she didn't have family members who loved her.”