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Family Wants More Answers After Bumble Date Death

Lauren Smith-Fields, 23, was found unresponsive in her Connecticut home on December 12, 2021, after going out with a man she’d met on the dating app, Bumble.  According to an incident report, she was found by her 37-year-old Bumble date, Matthew LaFountain, a Caucasian man, who said he woke up to find her “not breathing”.  The report also stated that blood was trickling out of her right nostril.  

Lauren’s family alleges they didn’t learn of her death until two days later.  Smith-Fields’ brother, Tavar Gray-Smith, told a news outlet that a detective later told the family the department hadn’t felt the need to notify the family because they had Lauren’s passport and ID and knew who she was.  The detective has since been removed from the case.  

The family has spent weeks calling for justice.  Activists and local lawmakers have joined the family, pushing for justice.  A notice of claim was filed on Friday as the family has filed a lawsuit against the city of Bridgeport and its police department.  They’ve also started a GoFundMe page to petition the public to help finance a private investigator.  The family alleges the police have mishandled the case and has treated the family with no respect, violating their civil rights.  Darnell Crosland is representing the family.  In the notice, Crosland charged the police department with failure to collect potentially crucial physical evidence from Lauren’s home.   

On Monday, Lauren’s death was ruled an “accident”.  The state’s chief medical examiner found that she died from a toxic combination of fentanyl, prescription drugs, and alcohol.  The family is challenging the medical examiner’s ruling.  On Tuesday, Bridgeport police chief, Rebeca Garcia, said they will open a criminal probe into the circumstances surrounding her death.  

Bronx rapper, Cardi B, used her platform to bring awareness to the case by tweeting to her followers on January 23rd, that the media mishandled the facts and that LaFountain didn’t look as old as the media said he was.  She tweeted, “the media made it seem like she was wit a old ass man lookin to trick on her.”

“They wanted us to forget about our daughter, their sister, our loved one,” said Shantell Fields, Lauren’s mother, to WNBC. “They thought they were just going to throw her away like she was garbage, like she wasn’t important, like she didn’t have family members who loved her. We’re fighting for her.”

–Janet Downs

Janet Downs is an instructor with over 20 years of experience, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations. She volunteers and is a resource for the homeless community and is working towards starting her own non-profit. She’s passionate about mental health and seeks to bring more awareness to the black community. She is active in church ministry, a writer, and loves music, hiking, and travel.

Janet Downs
Janet Downs
Janet Downs is an instructor with over 20 years of experience, having worked for Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations. She volunteers and is a resource for the homeless community & is working towards starting a non-profit. She’s passionate about mental health & seeks to bring more awareness to the black community. She is a writer, active in church ministry, & loves music, travel, & hiking.
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  1. […] Janet Downs | Janet Downs is an instructor with over 20 years of experience, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations. She volunteers and is a resource for the homeless community and is working towards starting her own non-profit. She’s passionate about mental health and seeks to bring more awareness to the black community. She is active in church ministry, a writer, and loves music, hiking, and travel.  […]

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