The Tragic Case of Lauren Smith-Fields: Overdose or Homicide?

One family’s struggle to find justice for their daughter.

Raven Quander

(Lauren Smith-Fields, 23 / Credit Google)

Lauren Smith-Fields, a 23-year-old college student studying physical therapy, was found dead on December 12, 2021 in her Bridgeport, Connecticut apartment. 

It was announced by the Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner’s Office that Smith-Fields’ death was caused by “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl promethazine, hydroxyzine, and alcohol.” With these findings, the Medical Examiner’s Office initially ruled her death as an “accidental overdose.”

An attorney for the Smith-Fields’ family case revealed that the Medical Examiner’s report raised more questions. 

“They actually want us to just disappear, just be quiet and then shut up, and that’s not going to happen. Just like I told the police department, you’re going to forever remember Lauren Smith-Fields’ name,” states Shantell Fields, Lauren Smith Fields’ mother. 

After public speculation rose surrounding the lack of search efficiency during the first week of the case, the Connecticut Police Department was put under heavy fire. 

Since the case has started to progress, it was revealed that Lauren Smith-Fields was with Matthew LaFountain, 37, whom she met through the ‘Bumble’ dating app. 

(Matther LaFountain, 37, pictured left, and Lauren Smith-Fields, pictured right / Credit Google)

The Connecticut Police Department’s refusal to consider LaFountain as a main suspect, or bring him in for questioning, has sprouted even more public scrutiny surrounding the case. 

Lakeem Jetter, Smith Fields’ brother, says “When I asked the officer about the guy, he said he was a very nice guy and they weren’t looking into him anymore. It was almost like he was sticking up for him and it seemed weird to hear that from a detective.”

According to ABC News, Matthew LaFountain told police that he went to Smith-Fields’ apartment for the first time the night before she was found unresponsive. He claims that she spent some time in the bathroom before they continued their night. 

The Bridgeport Police Department report says that the two were drinking Tequila before Smith-Fields fell ill and vomited. 

After spending the night at her apartment, LaFountain allegedly arose the next morning to find blood flowing out of Smith-Fields nostrils, while she was not breathing. He called 911 and Smith-Fields was declared dead at 6:49am, according to police reports. 

The medical staff was able to declare that she had been dead for at least an hour before her body was found. 

The Smith-Fields family state that it was Lauren’s landlord who called them and told them about her death. According to them, the Smith-Fields family reached out to police and the detectives about the case, but did not receive any confirmation about her passing until reaching the Bridgeport Police Department. 

Towards the end of January of this year, the two detectives involved in the investigation of Smith-Fields’ case, Kevin Cronin and Angel Llanos, were suspended. It was also reported by BuzzFeedNews that their supervisor retired from the department soon after. 

“To the families, friends, and all who care about the human decency that should be shown in these situations in this case by members of the Bridgeport Police Department, I am very sorry,” says Connecticut Mayor Joseph P. Ganim. 

Lauren Smith-Fields family is suing the Connecticut Police Department for the mishandling of her case, and has since turned to the social media video app, ‘TikTok,’ to spread word of her case. 

In the latest update in the case, the public was informed that the initial ruling of Lauren Smith-Fields’ death being an “accidental overdose” was being further investigated. 

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