BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — The community came together today in Bridgeport for a rally to seek answers following the mysterious death of 23-year-old Lauren Smith-Fields.
The march and rally, dubbed “Justice For Lauren,” began at the Bridgeport Police Department. Today would have been Smith-Fields’ 24th birthday. Smith-Fields’ family was in attendance and emotionally spoke to the crowd as they remembered her life and called for an independent investigation into her death by the state.
Smith-Fields’ family called out officials for what they say is a lack of transparency and humanity. The rally comes after their attorney filed a notice of claim to sue the city of Bridgeport on Friday, claiming investigators were negligent in her death.
“Today and forever I will always be her voice, I will always be strong for her,” Smith-Fields’ mother said at the rally. “No one is going to disregard my daughter like she is rubbish. She is not rubbish. She had a life, she had a business, she was in college, and she had family and friends that love her.”
According to the police report obtained by News 8, officials responded to Smith-Fields’ home on Plymouth Street on December 12th after a man she met on the dating app Bumble called 911. When they arrived, officers reported the man seemed “trembling and visibly shaken.”
The man told officers that early in the morning he found her not breathing and with blood coming out of her right nostril. Police had her body transported to the state medical examiner’s office.
Her parents said they had been trying to get in touch with their daughter and didn’t find out about her death until they discovered a note from her landlord on her front door. They said police never collected important physical evidence from the scene or questioned the man who was with her when she passed.
Police said the “investigation remains open and active.”
“The Detective Bureau is awaiting the final report from the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office for cause and manner of death of Ms. Smith-Fields,” BPD said in a statement. “The Bridgeport Police Department offers its sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Ms. Lauren Smith-Fields.”
Police Chief Rebeca Garcia said there are elements of misinformation being reposted by various sources, however, the department will release a final comprehensive report, including the final findings from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, at the conclusion of the investigation.
In a separate statement provided earlier this month, the city of Bridgeport said that “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,” the city of Bridgeport said. “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.”
BPD encourage anyone with information regarding Smith-Field’s case to contact police.
This is an ongoing story. Stay tuned for updates on WTNH or in the News 8 app.