This case may sound familiar, because it is. Yet another Black woman has been found dead under suspicious circumstances and please don’t suspect foul play. The most recent case, this time in Kansas City, involves 29-year-old Black woman Asia Maynard who was reported dead by a date she met online.
After police said they didn’t suspect foul play, activist groups are hoping to get answers for the woman’s family.
Maynard, a mother of four who loved her family deeply, was found dead in the home of Isaiah Crown, a White male, whom she met for a date on Fri., Feb. 18. The next morning, Crown called the Kansas City Police Department and said Maynard wasn’t feeling well the night before and in the morning, he rolled her over and said she felt stiff. Police came to pick up her body.
After Maynard’s family didn’t hear from her on Saturday, they called the police on Sunday to file a missing person’s report. Tera Maynard, sister of the deceased, initially met with police who told her to check with area hospitals, but soon after returned with other officers to tell her Asia was deceased.
KCPD told the family they believe Maynard died from natural causes, even though a toxicology report was not complete. The department also refused to tell Maynard’s family anything about the man she was with that night. Instead, they found out who the man was through their outreach on social media. Online, several individuals who said they were friends with Maynard, said he had been selling fentanyl laced pills and that several other people had overdosed and another person had previously died after consuming the pills Crown was peddling.
Activist groups including Operation Liberation, the Kansas City National Black United Front and Reale Justice Network are asking Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker to investigate the Asia Maynard case on behalf of her family. They also want another autopsy to be performed.
“Not only do the circumstances themselves raise questions, but there’s also a glaring difference in how this looks compared to the investigation, criminalization and prosecution of Black, brown and/or poor people,” a letter from the groups to Peters Baker read.
“While we stand firm in our belief that this system was not designed to serve Black people or restore and affirm survivors, until a better one is built, we must hold it accountable. This system failed to keep Asia (and potentially others) safe – the least it could do is help her family find the answers they seek so they can focus on their healing,” the letter continued.
Maynard’s case comes just months after a similar case made national headlines. In that Connecticut case, 23-year-old Lauren Smith Fields was found dead in her apartment shortly after meeting an older White man, Matthew LaFountain for a date. LaFountain called police after waking up to Smith-Fields on the floor unconscious with dried blood around her nose.
According to Smith-Fields’ family attorney, LaFountain was never investigated or detained after he called police.
The medical examiner determined her death to be “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl, promethazine, hydroxyzine and alcohol,” and the manner to be accidental.
According to Smith-Fields’ family, police did not notify them of her death. Instead, they learned of it from a note they found on her apartment door when they went looking for her. They believe Smith-Fields was drugged.
Since then, the officers have been accused of not adequately investigating the case and the detectives in the case were suspended. The mayor referred the department’s handling of the case to its internal affairs office.
Maynard’s case, much like Smith-Fields’, is drawing national attention, with thousands of people also demanding justice.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump tweeted about Maynard earlier this month, saying there needs to be a thorough investigation of her death.
Pop culture publication Complex and the Shade Room also shared Maynard’s story, reaching more than 100,000 people.
The Maynard family set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money for a private investigator, lawyer and support for her four children. Visit the page here.