Thanks to the help of social media and stars like Cardi B, an official investigation has now been launched into the mysterious death of 23-year-old Lauren Smith-Fields.
On Jan. 25, Bridgeport police announced that they would be conducting a criminal investigation after Smith-Fields’ medical examination revealed that she had died due to an accidental overdose “caused by acute intoxication” from a combination of fentanyl, prescription drugs, and alcohol, the Atlanta Black Star reported.
The young woman was found dead in her apartment back on Dec. 13, 2021, following a Bumble date with 37-year-old Matthew LaFountain, who notified authorities shortly after he discovered her lying unconscious and bleeding in the bed the morning after their first date. Sadly, Bridgeport police failed to examine LaFountain as a primary suspect because they claimed “he was a nice guy.” Now, the Smith-Fields family is demanding answers as to why it took so long for authorities to probe LaFountain about the events leading up to Lauren’s death.
Darnell Crosland, the family’s attorney, strongly believes that there’s “a cover-up in the works” and he claims that LaFountain and the detective who first arrived on the scene may have known one another previously.
“Detective Cronin has been placed on some type of administrative leave and he’s under investigation with internal affairs. They’ve been tight lipped about his involvement, but we’ve been finding out on social media that LaFountain, the individual who was with Lauren, has a huge connection with the police department and his family does as well,” Crosland told the Atlanta Black Star.
“[Cronin] has intentionally or negligently created a cover-up for the responsible party in Lauren’s death.”
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The Smith-Fields family plan to sue Bridgeport police for mishandling the case, arguing that it took the department almost “two weeks” to collect evidence from Lauren’s apartment. The New York Times reported that in the immediate hours following the 23-year-old’s death, they were never notified, and they practically had to “beg” Bridgeport officials for information about the evidence.
“If these are professionals, they should have been in the bathroom looking for that stuff, they should have been looking under the bed for a condom, they should have been using a blue light looking for semen, they did nothing,” Crosland explained.
Crosland also accused the Bridgeport police department of being racially insensitive towards Lauren’s case.
“If he was Black and she was white, a white 23-year-old female is dead with blood and a condom in the bathroom, oh boy, we’d still be at the police station right now,” he added.
With the investigation in tow, LaFountain is now cooperating with police. His lawyer Peter Karayiannis revealed that he had been working with police “for several hours” to give a testimony about the events that transpired shortly before Smith-Fields’ death, REVOLT TV noted. LaFountain will “continue to cooperate with authorities to help definitively determine what happened,” Karayiannis added.
According to the police report, LaFountain met Lauren at her apartment on the night of Dec. 12. The two spent their first Bumble date drinking a bottle of tequila, eating, and watching a few movies. He claimed that Lauren fell ill after she drank too many shots and eventually she fell asleep. LaFountain then carried the young woman to her bed and slept next to her throughout the night, but the next morning, he was shocked to discover Lauren unconscious. He noted that there was blood coming from her nose and that she wasn’t breathing. He immediately called 911, but sadly Lauren had already passed away before she could make it to the hospital.
While speaking to the New York Times, Lauren’s mother, Shantell Fields, said she grew nervous when she didn’t hear from her daughter all day. After a few attempts and no replies, the worried mother went to Lauren’s apartment to check on her, but she was immediately startled when she approached her front door and found a note that read:
“If you’re looking for Lauren, call this number.”
Ms. Fields said she broke down when the detective notified her about Lauren’s death.
“I started panicking. All I could do was just stand there, like if I was frozen. I could not believe what he was telling me, that my baby was gone.”