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Cause of death released for Bridgeport woman found dead in apartment

Lauren Smith-Fields was found dead after a man she met online called police on Dec. 12.

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — The death of a 23-year-old Black woman in Bridgeport has her family and the community asking questions about policing, race and victims' rights.

Lauren Smith-Fields was found dead after a man she met online called police on Dec. 12.

He said he awoke to find Smith-Fields unresponsive in her Bridgeport apartment.

The Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner released her cause of death on Monday evening, saying "acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl, promethazine, hydroxyzine, and alcohol" contributed to her death. The manner of death has been ruled as accidental.

"She didn't use drugs, why is it showing drugs? Where did it come from? What was the origin of this? All we know is that a 23-year-old girl goes to the gym every single day, doesn't use drugs," Atty. Darnell Crosland, her family's attorney, told FOX61.

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Smith-Field’s family said police never notified them of her death.

"They feel let down by the system. And they feel let disrespected and discarded. They feel they should've gotten the courtesy and respect of the police department reaching out to them," said Crosland.

He is planning to sue several Bridgeport officials over the handling of this case. 

"Detectives that came to the scene they never had the CSI, never quarantined the area, never collected any evidence of value, and the behavior just continued," Crosland said.

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He said, the family found several items inside Smith-Field's apartment that they brought to police's attention, including a pill that can be used as a sedative and a sheet stained with blood. 

About 100 people rallied Sunday outside the city's government center demanding answers.

The city said in a statement that the investigation is continuing

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Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at gmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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