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Family Of Stamford HS Grad Claims Police Mishandled Probe Into Her Death

Lauren Smith-Fields
Lauren Smith-Fields Photo Credit: Lauren Smith-Fields/Instagram

The family of a Fairfield County woman who was found dead in her apartment are upset over the way her death was handled and intends to sue over the matter.

Lauren Smith-Fields, age 23, of Bridgeport, was found dead in her apartment on Sunday, Dec. 12 by Bridgeport Police after an "older white man" who she met on a dating site called to report her death, the family said at a news conference on Sunday, Jan. 16.

According to Rolling Stone, the family is upset over the city authorities’ handling of the 23-year-old’s untimely death. 

They are also asking that an independent agency be brought in to handle the investigation.

The family says that more than a month after her death, they still don't have a cause of death and are frustrated with the way they are being treated by the police and the manner in which the investigation is being handled, Rolling Stone said.

They are also comparing the way Smith-Field's mysterious death is being handled with the way the investigation into the death of Long Island's Gabby Petito's death was made public. 

“It’s happening all too often with Black girls missing across this world, across this country, and no one says anything,” Darnell Crosland, the family’s attorney told the magazine. “When a white woman goes missing, the whole world drops everything. We are done with this valuation.”

Crosland said the family is suing for failure to prosecute and failure to protect the family under the 14th Amendment.

A Stamford High School graduate, Smith-Fields was taking classes at Norwalk Community College while working as an eyebrow specialist and babysitter at the time of her death. 

Smith-Fields was found dead after meeting up with a man named Matthew LaFountain from the dating app Bumble, Rolling Stone reported.

According to an incident report, obtained by Crosland, Smith-Fields’ body was found by LaFountain after a night of drinking and eating. He claims he found her around 6:30 a.m. on her bed bleeding from the nose. He called 911 to report her death.

According to the Daily Mail, the family claims police never reported her death to them until days after when they called a number left with her landlord and were informed of her passing.

Her brother also claims the Bridgeport Pollice officer handling the case told him not to call again and hung up on him, the Daily Mail reported.

The department, for its part, who said they don't respond to questions on open cases, added they are awaiting a report from the medical examiner's office for a definitive cause of death. They also offered condolences to the family, reported the Daily Mail. 

Crosland counted that the family wants justice, not condolences, and wants to see her death investigated. 

The Smith-Fields family plans to commemorate her birthday on Sunday, Jan. 23 with a march to City Hall.

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