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Crime News Missing Persons

Body of Missing Michigan 2-Year-Old Found Days After Mom Was Allegedly Stabbed by Ex-Boyfriend

Wynter Cole Smith was found dead after allegedly being kidnapped by her mother's ex-boyfriend, Rashad Maleek Trice, who has already been charged for a “brutal physical and sexual assault” on the mom.

By Elisabeth Ford
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The body of a Michigan toddler has been found after the 2-year-old was allegedly kidnapped on Sunday when her mother fled a stabbing in their home.

Warning: This story involves violence against children.

The Lansing Police Department announced in a Wednesday night press conference that authorities found Wynter Cole Smith's body just before 7 p.m. that night near Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit. The investigation has shifted from missing persons to homicide.

An Amber Alert was issued when Smith went missing Sunday after her mother’s ex-boyfriend allegedly abducted her, according to Lansing station WILX.

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Police had been looking for Wynter for several days, using drones, helicopters, K9 units and coordinated search parties.

“This is not the outcome anyone had hoped for,” Lansing Police Chief Ellery Sosebee said during Wednesday’s press conference.

He left out more specific details in the case, noting it's still open investigation, but said police would give an update as soon as they're able to without it interfering in the investigation.

A photo of Wynter Cole Smith

According to officials, 26-year-old Rashad Maleek Trice has been in police custody since Monday. Before Wynter's body was found, he had already been brought up on multiple charges stemming from what the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office called a “brutal physical and sexual assault” that happened Sunday night involving the girl's mother, including assault with intent to murder, two counts of criminal sexual conduct first degree, and home invasion in the first degree.

Lansing Police were dispatched to a home in Michigan where they found a 22-year-old woman with stab wounds and other signs of assault, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The woman identified her attacker as Trice, with whom she had previously been in a relationship with, but who is not the biological father of Wynter. The little girl’s mother suffered non-life-threatening injuries and has been released from the hospital, the Free Press reported.

“The ex-boyfriend stole a white 2013 Chevrolet Impala, which he later crashed, and he was then taken into custody in St. Clair Shores, nearly 90 miles from Lansing,” the FBI said in a July 2 missing persons post on Twitter. “Wynter was not in the apartment or the stolen car and has not been located.”  

Trice was charged as a violent habitual fourth offender and is being held without bond, according to prosecutors.

Sosebee said the search for Smith came to an end around 6:50 p.m. Wednesday night, and that local and federal prosecutors will soon determine the appropriate new charges.

“Right now, our hearts are with the family of Wynter Cole Smith. We saw a community show endless amount of support and assistance in help finding Wynter, and now we need the same support and love for the family as they grieve,” he said.

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“We are devastated by the tragic news that Wynter Cole Smith was found deceased today,” the prosecutor’s office said. “Our hearts are with Wynter’s family as they begin to process and grieve the unnecessary loss of a beautiful two-year-old child.”

While the search for the 2-year-old girl is over, Sosebee still urged people to come forward with any new information regarding the case.

"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," he said.

Anyone with information is asked to submit tips to http://tips.fbi.gov or to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.

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