Connecticut police open investigation into death of Lauren Smith-Fields

Connecticut detectives opened an investigation into the accidental fatal drug overdose of Lauren Smith-Fields hours after the medical examiner issued her cause of death, which her family questioned.

Smith-Fields, 23, was killed by “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl, promethazine, hydroxyzine and alcohol,” after a Dec. 11 date with an unnamed man who she met online, Connecticut’s chief medical examiner said Tuesday, adding they found no foul play.

The circumstances of what caused the Bridgeport woman’s overdose were now under criminal investigation, News 12 Connecticut reported.

“The Bridgeport Police Department continues to treat the untimely death of Lauren Smith-Fields as an active investigation as we are now refocusing our attention and efforts to the factors that lead to her untimely death,” Bridgeport Police Chief Rebeca Garcia told the outlet.

The development came after Smith-Fields’ family said the woman did not use drugs and questioned if police had investigated how the fatal concoction had been administered.

“I’ve never seen a medical examiner conclude a mixer of drugs as an accident without knowing who provided the drugs, or how it was ingested,” family attorney Darnell Crosland wrote on Twitter.

The lawyer accused the Bridgeport police department of racial insensitivity for not quickly investigating the black woman’s death.

Smith-Fields' family said that police did not notify them of her death, they instead found out from her landlord.
Smith-Fields’ family said that police did not notify them of her death, they instead found out from her landlord.
Lauren Smith-Fields/Facebook

“The ME findings doesn’t cure any of Bridgeport Police Department lack of process, in fact it makes it worse. As a result of a botched investigation this morning we are left with more questions than answers.”

Smith-Fields was found unresponsive in her home after an evening with the man. He told police they spent the night drinking at home before Smith-Fields felt ill and went to bed. When he woke up, the woman was not breathing and had a nose bleed, he said.

Family members said police did not notify them of her death, and they found out a day later from her landlord, who left a note on her door. They planned to file a lawsuit against Bridgeport police.

Officials had said they had to wait for the coroner to rule how Smith-Fields died before they could open an investigation.

The Office of Internal Affairs was investigating whether police had acted improperly, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim said Monday.

A Democrat in the state legislature announced Tuesday he would introduce a bill in her honor requiring police in Connecticut to notify immediate family within 24 hours of a person’s death.

With AP wires