A Bridgeport, Connecticut, family is searching for answers after their 23-year old daughter was found unconscious in her apartment and died days before Christmas.
Lauren Smith-Fields was found unresponsive on Dec. 12 after a date with an unknown older white male that she met on the online dating app Bumble, Westchester News 12 reports.
The man notified the police about Smith-Field’s condition, however, he was not held for interrogation. Lakeem Jetterk, Smith-Fields’ brother, was told by police officials that the man was a nice guy and that they did not suspect foul play.
The young woman’s family described her as a “beautiful child, with the world at her feet.” She was a star athlete who ran track for Stamford High School and was enrolled to study physical therapy at Norwalk Community College.
Smith-Fields was also a dynamic woman who operated her own business to fund her school tuition and maintained a YouTube channel where she posted hair tutorial videos.
The medical examiner has not issued the reason for death.
“Without a doubt, we know that my daughter was not a drug user, and I had a second autopsy myself paid out of pocket because we felt so uncomfortable with the way it was handled,” Everett, the young woman’s father, told Westchester News 12.
He denounced the police for their response to the situation, saying his family was denied “basic courtesies” by police officials and was instructed to stop calling.
He also described their primary police contact as an “insensitive, condescending, and arrogant detective.”
“It’s killing me inside. I miss my baby,” Shantell Fields, the mother of the young college student, said. “Life is not the same. I don’t know who I’m going to be after this.”
Through her grief, Fields contacted Councilwoman Maria Pereira about the authorities’ conduct.
“She sent a really well-written email – it was lengthy, it was extensive, it was very detailed – and I was shocked when she told me just yesterday she had not even received a response,” Pereira said.
As a response to the criticism, the City of Bridgeport issued a statement.
“The Bridgeport Police Department takes these concerns very seriously. The Command Staff of the Detective Bureau is reviewing the handling of this case to ensure that best practices were and are being followed. It is imperative to note that the death of Lauren Smith-Fields remains an ongoing investigation. Our department extends its deepest condolences to the family of Lauren,” the department said.