Bridgeport Police Statement With RebuttalOn December 12, 2021, the Bridgeport Emergency Operations Center (EOC) received a call for service regarding an untimely death (No. 21000105892). Upon police arrival, it was found that Ms. Brenda Lee Rawls (DOB 12/02/1968) had passed away unexpectedly. As is protocol, the Bridgeport Police Department (BPD) Detective Bureau (DB) took charge of the untimely death investigation under DB case No. 21D-1890.

On January 31, 2022, the Bridgeport Police Department Identification Unit was advised by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) that Brenda Lee Rawls toxicology came back negative. The Rawls family was immediately notified. The family was also informed that additional tests were necessary before the OCME would make a decision on cause and manner of death.

On February 22, 2022, the Connecticut OCME determined the cause and manner of death of Ms. Brenda Lee Rawls. The manner of death has been certified as Natural. The cause of death has been certified as Cardiovascular Disease. The contributory cause of death is Diabetes. The OCME has notified the next of kin. The Detective Bureau will officially close this case once the OCME legal documents are physically received at the Bridgeport Police Department.

The Bridgeport Police Department continues to express their heartfelt sympathies to the Rawls family during this difficult time.


City Council Woman Maria Pereira responded:

Mr. Appleby,
I have been authorized to issue this written response to your press release by the Brenda Lee Rawls family whom are on copy on this email.
This is highly inappropriate and incredibly insensitive to the family. It further demonstrates the lack of compassion demonstrated by the City of Bridgeport and the BPD. The family was just notified of the cause of death less than two hours ago and has not even had an opportunity to digest the autopsy results, and all the City cares about is issuing a press release to try to absolve themselves of this fiasco.
The autopsy doesn’t excuse the conduct of the BPD in failing to notify the family of Brenda’s death, the disrespect they showed Brenda’s family and that they did not know the cause of death when they failed to treat the location as a potential crime scene.
You further state “The Detective Bureau will officially close this case once the OCME legal documents are physically received at the Bridgeport Police Department.” The BPD cannot “close a case” or investigation that they never initiated in the first place.
Brenda Lee Rawls’ family will be pursuing an independent autopsy as they have no faith in this outcome.
Respectfully yours,
City Councilwoman Maria Pereira
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