/  01.26.2022

An attorney representing Lauren Smith-Fields’ family claims the man who saw her last, Matthew LaFountain, has a “huge connection” to the Bridgeport Police Department. So far, no arrests have been made in Smith-Fields’ December death.

According to attorney Darnell Crosland, the police officer who was investigating the Black 23-year-old’s death, Detective Kevin Cronin, has been removed from the case and was placed on administrative leave.

“Detective Cronin has been placed on some type of administrative leave and he’s under investigation with internal affairs,” Crosland told the Atlanta Black Star. “They’ve been tight lipped about his involvement, but we’ve been finding out on social media that LaFountain, the individual who was with Lauren, has a huge connection with the police department and his family does as well.”

Crosland further claimed that Detective Crosland “intentionally or negligently created a cover-up for the responsible party in Lauren’s death.”

On Monday (Jan. 24), the Connecticut chief medical examiner ruled Smith-Fields’ death an accident and said she died from “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl, promethazine, hydroxyzine and alcohol.”

The following day (Jan. 25), the Bridgeport Police Department opened a criminal investigation into her passing.

Mayor Joe Ganim also launched an internal investigation into the police department’s handling of the case and said the city would revisit its policies on family death notifications.

As reported by REVOLT, Smith-Fields was found dead in her apartment on Dec. 12 after going on a date with LaFountain, a 37-year-old white man she met on Bumble. LaFountain told police that they met at the woman’s apartment and drank tequila shots until she fell ill. Later, they ate some food and watched a movie and Smith-Fields fell asleep. LaFountain said he carried her to bed and  fell asleep next to her. The next morning, LaFountain found Smith-Fields not breathing with blood coming out of her nose and called 911.

According to Crosland, Detective Cronin arrived to the scene and the attorney claims the officer and LaFountain have a personal relationship. Smith-Fields’ family previously accused Cronin of not notifying them about her death and said they plan to file a lawsuit over the police’s handling of the case.

“If these [police] are professionals, they should have been in the bathroom looking for that stuff. They should have been looking under the bed for a condom, they should have been using a blue light looking for semen, [but] they did nothing,” Crosland told Atlanta Black Star, adding that it took police two weeks to collect evidence.

Smith-Fields’ family is also frustrated with how long it took police to launch a criminal investigation.

“If he was Black and she was white, a white 23-year-old female is dead with blood and a condom in the bathroom, oh boy, we’d still be at the police station right now,” Crosland said.

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