Coroner – NBC Connecticut

The chief medical examiner‘s office says a Bridgeport woman found dead in December died of natural causes.

Brenda Lee Rawls, 53, died December 12. Police treated her death as premature and Rawls’ body was taken to the Farmington coroner’s office for an autopsy. The coroner said Tuesday Rawls died of cardiovascular disease caused by diabetes.

The Rawls family said they were never contacted about Brenda’s death and only found out about it days later when they were unable to contact her. An acquaintance of Rawls’s told family members that she had died, but was unable to provide further details.

It was only when they called the coroner’s office that they received confirmation of her death.

The family said they felt the Bridgeport Police Department did not follow protocols and did not show proper respect to Rawls and her family after her death.

Rawls died the same day as 23-year-old Lauren Smith-Fields in Bridgeport.

Smith-Fields died of an accidental overdose of a combination of fentanyl, alcohol and other drugs, according to coroners.

Smith-Field’s family said she received similar treatment after her death. They were not informed of her death and felt mistreated by Bridgeport Police.

Two officers have been placed on paid administrative leave in connection with the two death investigations.

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim said the two detectives faced disciplinary action for their “lack of public sensitivity and failure to follow police procedures in handling these two matters.”

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