Like many young women on dating apps, Lauren Smith-Fields, 23, of Bridgeport, Conn., went on a date with Matthew LaFountain, an older man she met on Bumble.
Smith-Fields was found dead in her apartment on Dec. 12, 2021. Her Bumble date was the last person to see her alive.
Smith-Fields’ Instagram account has a substantial 17.9k followers. She was a student at Norwalk Community College who aspired to be a physical therapist.
The Bridgeport police hadn’t informed Smith-Fields’ family of her death until two days after her body was discovered. Detectives told her brother, Tavar Gray-Smith, that informing the family of her death wasn’t necessary, because they had her identification documents and had already performed an autopsy.
The autopsy revealed that her death was accidental, stating that she suffered acute intoxication due to combining hard drugs with alcohol. The drugs found in her system — promethazine and hydroxyzine — are both common sedatives.
Her cause of death was met with confusion by her family, who staunchly claim that Smith-Fields was not a drug user.
According to WTNH, when the Smith-Fields’ family attorney Darnell Crosland reached out to Bridgeport police detectives to ask why they didn’t bother to question LaFountain, they said, “He was a nice guy, there was no need to investigate.”
The tragic and confusing nature of Smith-Fields’ death had not prompted opening a police investigation over a month after her passing. However, thanks to Twitter, several posts that brought light to the mysterious nature of her death were shared across multiple social media platforms. Smith-Fields’ family showed thanks to rapper Cardi B for being “instrumental” in prompting the police to finally launch an investigation.
Justice for Smith-Fields has been met with many roadblocks. LaFountain was the first person to report her death to the police, but Bridgeport detectives have refused to interrogate him.
The Smith-Fields’ family, frustrated with the negligence of Bridgeport police, filed a claim to sue. The claim notice cited that the police had missed other significant details in Smith-Fields’ apartment: bloody bedsheets and a used condom.
Smith-Fields’ story has drawn comparisons to that of Gabby Petito. Petito was an aspiring Long Island travel influencer who went missing and was ultimately found dead last August, after being strangled by her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie. Petito’s case made national headlines, and Laundrie was the subject of a week-long manhunt. Authorities went the extra mile to bring Petito justice for her untimely death.
VALLEY’s hearts are with the family and friends of Lauren Smith-Fields.