Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices: What happened to Lauren Smith Fields?

Like many reading this article, Lauren Smith Fields was a college student. She attended classes, hung out with friends, went on trips and did what any young adult should be doing at this age, living life.

Fields went on a date with an older white man, Matthew LaFountain, whom she met on the online dating app Bumble. LaFountain found her unresponsive on the morning of December 12 and called the police. They later pronounced her dead. 

After six weeks, the medical examiner’s announced Field’s death was ruled as an “accident” and of acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl, promethazine, hydroxyzine and alcohol. 

LaFountain was the last person to see her alive. He was invited to her home, and they were drinking, then Fields stated she was feeling sick. He then proceeded to lay her down and they both fell asleep. When he woke the next morning, blood was coming out of her nose, and she wasn’t breathing, according to WGN9.

When police were asked why they didn't place the man who found her in custody, police said  “he seemed like a nice guy.” 

It seems bizarre that the last person who found someone alive isn’t a suspect simply because he cooperated with police. Police also failed to collect evidence left at Fields' apartment. 

The lack of investigation from law enforcement doesn’t add up in this case. It is taking longer than it should to find out what happened to Lauren, and the family is demanding answers. 

“The way they handled her investigation was literally disgraceful, disgusting, horrible. It was not even human,” Lakeem Jetter, Smith-Fields' brother, said in an interview with Good Morning America.

Two weeks after her death, according to The Washington Post, the family found a used condom in the bathroom, a pill on the kitchen counter and bloodstains on the sheets of her bed. Why wasn’t this collected the day of the crime? 

The misconduct from the Bridgeport Police Department is quite troubling and shows a pattern which happens with Black women too often. 

IU freshman Zeniah Wilburn agrees Fields’ case hasn’t received the attention it deserves. 

“No one advocates for Black women,” Wilburn said. “Her death is a reflection of the lack of care and consideration people have for Black women.”

Fields’ case shows we are not seen as important as our counterparts and are constantly being silenced when it comes to our lives. We don’t get the media coverage, we don’t get the manhunts and we don’t get the same treatment as someone like Gabby Petito

As the family is mourning over the loss of their only daughter, they are continuing to fight for answers to what happened to Lauren. Her family is planning to sue the city of Bridgeport and the police department regarding the improper crime scene investigation.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misidentified Matthew LaFountain.

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