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Lauren Smith-Fields. Photo credit: Instagram
Lauren Smith-Fields was found unresponsive in her apartment on Dec. 12, 2021. Her family is calling for an investigation from a state or federal agency because they believe local police have mishandled the case. Photo credit: Instagram

Lauren Smith-Fields’ family is filing a lawsuit over the handling of her case

They say that the investigation has been mishandled and want an independent investigation launched.

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Lauren Smith-Fields’ family is suing the city of Bridgeport over the police’s handling of her death. The 23-year-old died on Dec. 12, 2021, after a date with Matthew LaFountain the night before. He slept over at her apartment and called 9-1-1 after finding her unresponsive. He was not investigated by police, who told the family it was because he seemed like a nice guy. Police also did not release his name at the time.  

The police didn’t even contact the family to inform them of her death. They found out through her landlord who put a note on her door that said, “If you’re looking for Lauren, please contact this number.” The family found the note when they went to her apartment after several days of not hearing from her. They had to contact the police department to get confirmation that Smith-Fields had died. 

The family says that the police treated them poorly, even telling her brother to stop calling before hanging up when he inquired about the case. 

When cleaning out her apartment after her funeral that family found evidence that the police never bagged including bloody sheets on her bed, a pill, a used condom, and a bottle of lube.  

The autopsy report states that Smith-Fields died of “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl, promethazine, hydroxyzine, and alcohol.” Her death was ruled an accident. Both promethazine and hydroxyzine are used to treat allergies as well as nausea and vomiting. The independent autopsy the family paid for has not yet released their findings. 

The family’s attorney, Darnell Crosland, is calling for an independent investigation by a state or federal agency. "We want the DOJ like when they have to step in for cases like a Mike Brown, this family has to continue to deal with the loss of their loved one, work and they shouldn't have to do that when they are hard-working tax-payers."

Her previously unnamed Bumble date has been identified

Bridgeport Police released LaFountain’s name almost a month after Smith-Fields’ death. A police report containing his statement has been released. In it, it says that he told police that Smith-Fields asked him for $40 to get her nails done and invited him over to her apartment. While there they allegedly drank tequila, with Smith-Fields getting up to vomit in the bathroom. 

After she came back, they continued to drink, as well as eat and start a movie. He said that in the middle of the movie she received a text from her brother to get something from him. She went outside with her brother before coming back in and heading to the bathroom. LaFountain says she was in the bathroom for over 10 minutes, which he found odd. 

He then claims that she fell asleep on the couch while watching the movie, so he brought her to her bed. He then fell asleep beside her. At 3 a.m., he got up and noticed her snoring. When he got up at 6:30 a.m., he said that she was lying on her right side, bleeding from her nose and not breathing. He then called 9-1-1. He also claims that they didn’t have sex and he was laying with her fully clothed. 

Her family disputes several parts of this story. They say that her nails had been done earlier in the week and were still in good shape for the funeral so she wouldn’t have needed the money to get them done. Her brother, Lakeem Jetter, also stated that he didn’t text his sister that night, he called her. This was so he could pick up some clothes from her, not give her something. He added that she didn’t appear intoxicated or sick to him. 

“She looked normal. She didn’t look sick, she didn’t look tired, she didn’t look drunk. I’m her second older brother, if I would have seen her drunk I would’ve said, ‘What are you doing?’ … ‘Why do you look like that?’” 

Smith-Fields’ family plans to hold a march in her honor on Sunday, Jan. 23, which would have been her 24th birthday.

 

This article has been updated on Jan. 25, 2022 to include the case of death.
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