The family of Lauren Smith-Fields remains devastated a month after the 23-year-old college student was mysteriously found dead in her Bridgeport, Conn., apartment. The family claims an uncooperative and hostile police department has made their quest for accountability only more traumatizing.
SHANTELL FIELDS: They actually want us to just disappear, just be quiet and then shut up, and that's not going to happen. Just like I told the police department, you're going to forever remember Lauren Smith-Fields' name.
- The mother of 23-year-old Lauren Smith-Fields of Bridgeport says her family's world came crashing down 10 days ago when her daughter was found dead inside her apartment on Plymouth Street under what the family describes as mysterious circumstances. They say Lauren had met, quote, "an older white man" on the dating app Bumble, and it was he who alerted police to Lauren's death. The family says they are not satisfied with answers they got from an investigator.
- I asked them about the guy. He just made it seem like the guy was a nice guy. He was nothing to investigate.
SHANTELL FIELDS: Hi. I'm Shantell Fields, Lauren Smith-Fields' mother. So far, we haven't had any answers at all, ever since the day that we found out that she passed away. Well, the day I found out that she passed away, I went to her apartment and seen a handwritten note on the door saying if you're looking for Lauren, call this number, and that was it. It wasn't left by the officer. It was left by her landlord.
How do-- I don't get any notification that my daughter passed away. I don't even get grieving time at all. I've been thrown into this whole craziness of smoke and mirrors. No one's telling us anything at all.
DARNELL WATSON: I'm Darnell Watson. I'm an attorney working with the family. You have a 23-year-old young woman with a gentleman who was 45-plus. He meets her on a Bumble website, and typically, you take any testimonial evidence and you compare it or weight it against any physical evidence, right.
So we know from his statement, this gentleman stated that he slept in his clothes and that there was no sex involved. Yet still, on our own, we find in the bathroom a used condom with semen in it. We also find a pill that's used as a sedative. So it looks like he could have drugged her. He could have raped her. Yet still, they tell us he's a nice man. Don't jump.
- Very nice guy.
- Don't jump to conclusions.
- Very nice guy.
DARNELL WATSON: He's a very nice man. They let him go.
DARNELL WATSON: So these things aren't things that should be expected. So there's a typical protocol that's followed when you have a situation like this, and what I mean by that is, if you have a husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend, call the police because one of them is dead. Typically, the person who is surviving, whether it's the wife or whether it's the husband or boyfriend or girlfriend, that person is pivotal to the investigation.
Most times, they look at a suspect because they were the last person with the deceased. In this particular case, the police have been very hesitant to even call this person a person of interest. That's appalling that we have to prosecute our own cases. They have a right to know that the police department considers this case as serious as any other case. They haven't gotten that.
- Well, the family is actually feeling that the police just don't care. They have no respect for us. You can tell the way how they treat us, and we feel that there's a lot of smoke and mirrors. And we feel that if we don't fight as a family and as a unit, we're not going to get anything solved. We're letting them know that we're not going anywhere at all. We're here to fight for my daughter Lauren Smith-Fields.