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Wynter Cole Smith Lansing Detroit missing found body mother Rashad Trice

Source: Courtesy of / Lansing Police Department

A federal search team found the body of Lansing 2-year-old Wynter Cole Smith July 5, according to the local police department of Michigan’s capital.

The toddler’s remains were found less than two hours away in Detroit three days after she was kidnapped. Lansing authorities initally put out an Amber Alert in hopes of finding the baby girl before she was ultimately recovered on the east side of Detroit. 

Specifics about the search highlighted that the late baby girl was found around 6:50 p.m. on Wednesday evening. Her body was in the Knodell Street and Erwin Avenue area — near Coleman A. Young Airport.

After investigators found the deceased toddler, her tragedy switched from a missing persons case to a homicide investigation, according to WXYZ.

“I promise law enforcement will see that the family gets the justice that they so deserve,” said Lansing Police Department Chief Ellery Sosebee during a two-minute press conference July 5.

“Please continue to forward any new information, any digital evidence, any witnesses, witness statements or any other pertinent information to the Lansing Police Department or the FBI.”

Wynter went missing July 2 from her mother’s home on BeauJardin Drive.

The search for the missing child included her family, the FBI, local authorities, The Dock Ellis Foundation (a nonprofit that empowers minority communities in finding missing persons), and brave local citizens. The hopeful parties spanned from Lansing to nearby Detroit.

Police suspect Rashad Trice, 26, kidnapped the child after he stabbed her 22-year-old mother, according to CBS News. Authorities noted that Wynter’s 1-year-old baby brother was also present in the home during their mother’s attack.

The perpetrator allegedly kidnapped Wynter in her mother’s 2013 Chevrolet Impala. The Lansing State Journal detailed that the victimized adult woman and Rashad were in a previous relationship. Notably, the alleged kidnapper isn’t Wynter’s father.

The surviving adult woman reportedly showed signs of being an assault victim when police arrived at her home on Sunday. She’s been released from the hospital after a visit for her non-life-threatening injuries, although her name remains anonymous.

Authorities arrested Rashad around 6 a.m. July 3 after a car chase and crash. He remains in custody and without bond. His probable cause conference is set for July 13 — and his preliminary examination will be July 20.

The suspect has not been charged with anything connected to Wynter’s kidnapping and death as of yet. His charges are related to the incident with the child’s mother. Authorities included assault with intent to murder, two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, and first-degree home invasion.

Rashad also faces unlawful imprisonment, aggravated domestic violence-second offense, unlawful driving away of an automobile, and felonious assault. 

Lansing residents held a vigil for Wynter July 6, and the toddler’s family held a separate one the following day. 

In a statement about her death, the child’s loved ones said:

“We are heartbroken over the loss of our beautiful daughter, granddaughter, cousin, niece and big sister, Wynter Cole Smith. Wynter’s brief but bright life was taken from her unnecessarily; and we will grieve her death forever. We wish to thank the FBI, all law enforcement, all the volunteers, and the Dock Ellis Foundation for their assistance, compassion and professionalism.

R.I.P. to Baby Wynter. We wish her family immense healing and justice in this heartbreaking and disturbing case. 

RELATED CONTENT: “Bill Passes For New Minnesota Office To Investigate All Missing And Murdered Cases Involving Black Women And Girls”

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