True Crime News Roundup: Inquiry Into Death Of Woman Found Dead After Bumble Date Now An Active Investigation, Police Say
Plus: A Chicago teacher and her state trooper husband are found dead in a car; the search continues for the killer of a teenager whose body was dumped near a Los Angeles freeway; Cardi B wins her defamation lawsuit against a YouTube vlogger; and a California court grants Apple CEO Tim Cook a restraining order after he’s allegedly targeted by a stalker.
Police in Connecticut open an investigation into the death of a Black woman over one month after she died while on a date.
A Connecticut woman died while on a date with a man she met on an app, and her family plans to sue the Bridgeport Police Department and other officials for what their lawyer said was the “racially insensitive” handling of the case, NBC News reported.
According to an incident report obtained by The New York Times, Lauren Smith-Fields, a Black 23-year-old college student studying to become a physical therapist, had been chatting with a 37-year-old man, who is white, on Bumble over the course of three days.
On Dec. 11, the report states, she invited him to her Bridgeport apartment, and the two played games, watched a movie, ate, and drank tequila cocktails.
At one point during the date, the man claimed to investigators, Smith-Fields went outside to meet her brother, and she then went into the bathroom for 10 to 15 minutes, the report states.
Smith-Fields and the man later fell asleep and, he claimed, she was alive and snoring when he got up to use the bathroom at 3 a.m. When he woke up again around 6:30 a.m., he called 911 because “she was lying on her right side, blood was coming out of her right nostril onto the bed, and she was not breathing,” the report states.
Family said police never notified them about Smith-Fields’ Dec. 12 death, and they claimed a detective assigned to the case told them to stop calling about the investigation, according to NBC News.
A lawyer for Smith-Fields’ loved ones told The New York Times his clients also had to beg for detectives to gather potential evidence they found in her apartment, including a pill, used condom and bloodstained sheets.
“We thought from the beginning that there was foul play here,” the lawyer said.
Lauren Smith-Fields, 23, was found dead in her Connecticut apartment after a date with a man she met on Bumble. It took the police more than a month to open a criminal investigation. https://t.co/ZMYH4dblA4— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 27, 2022
On Jan. 23, what would have been Smith-Fields’ 24th birthday, her family, friends and others went to the Bridgeport mayor’s office and demanded answers — and action. As a result, Mayor Joseph P. Ganim confirmed the police department’s Office of Internal Affairs was investigating how the case was handled.
The following day, the Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said the manner of Smith-Fields’s death was an accident caused by an overdose of fentanyl combined with prescription medication and alcohol, according to The Times.
In a recent statement, Chief of Police Rebeca Garcia said the Bridgeport Police Department is treating the inquiry into “the untimely death of Lauren Smith-Fields as an active investigation.”
A lawyer for the man on the date with Smith-Fields said his client has cooperated with the investigation but declined further comment, according to The Times.
A Chicago teacher and her estranged husband are found dead in an apparent murder-suicide, police say.
On Jan. 24 around 1:40 p.m., a passerby discovered a beloved pre-kindergarten teacher and her Illinois State Trooper husband dead inside a parked car in Chicago.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported the pair were going through a divorce at the time of their deaths.
Calo, the mother to a 1-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son, was involved in various community and school groups, including the violence-prevention group Safe Kids Chicago. “She helped mentor kids on the wrong path,” her godmother, Susan Sadlowski-Garza, told the publication, noting, “Everyone loved Amanda.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text STRENGTH to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Detectives continue to search for the killer of a teenage girl who dumped her body by a Los Angeles freeway.
Reward money for information leading to the arrest of whoever is responsible for the death of a teenager in California has grown to as much as $110,000.
Tioni Theus, 16, was last seen alive on Jan. 7 at her family’s Compton home. She was found dead with a gunshot wound to the neck the next day near the 110 Freeway in South Los Angeles.
Authorities believe Theus, who was laid to rest on Jan. 27, may have been the victim of human trafficking. “This speaks as to why we need to do more for survivors of human trafficking, especially children who are exceptionally vulnerable to the coercive tactics of traffickers,” L.A. County Dist. Atty. George Gascón said.
Senia Theus noted her cousin was a vibrant child who loved to laugh. “She was a bundle of joy, real bubbly and friendly,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “She was very goofy, happy. She was always smiling, even when she was crying.”
The girl’s murder, she added, “wasn’t deserving of her.”
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call CHP at 323-644-9550.
Cardi B is awarded $4 million in a libel lawsuit against a YouTube vlogger.
An Atlanta jury awarded Grammy Award-winning entertainer Cardi B a total of over $4 million on Jan. 24 as part of her defamation lawsuit against Latasha Kebe, a YouTube vlogger known online as Tasha K.
Cardi B, whose real name is Belcalis Almánzar, sued Kebe in 2019 for making “blatantly defamatory statements” on a celebrity gossip site she ran “for her personal financial gain,” NBC News reported, citing the suit.
“After almost four years of repeated libel and slander against me, being able to walk away from this victorious brings me great happiness,” Cardi B said in a statement following the jury’s decision. “During this trial, all of you have learned about the darkest time in my life. That moment in time was fueled by the vile, disgusting, and completely false narratives that were repeatedly and relentlessly being shared online.”
Kebe’s lawyer on the case told Variety: “We disagree with the verdict and we will be filing an appeal.”
Apple is granted a restraining order against CEO Tim Cook’s alleged stalker.
The Santa Clara County Superior Court in California has granted Apple a restraining order against a woman from Virginia who, the company alleged, has exhibited “erratic, threatening and bizarre” behavior, CNN reported, citing a court filing.
Apple alleged in the filing that over the course of more than a year, the woman twice has trespassed on Cook’s property, made online threats, and demanded money, among other claims.
The filing states the over 200 emails and multiple Twitter messages the woman allegedly sent Cook have included photos of bullets and a gun and “showed a significant escalation in tone, becoming threatening and highly disturbing.”
According to CNN, a hearing is scheduled for March.