The search for kidnapped 2-year-old Wynter Cole-Smith has reached a tragic end as investigators have found her dead in Detroit, Michigan.
Speaking Wednesday night, Lansing police chief Ellery Sosebee declined to release many details because the case against alleged abductor Rashad Trice, 26, is ongoing. Authorities are evaluating new charges in what is now a homicide investigation.
Authorities previously said that Trice stabbed and injured Cole-Smith’s mother and abducted the child from the city of Lansing on Sunday night. Cops said he was arrested hours later about 90 miles east in St. Clair Shores, which is just northeast of Detroit. According to police, he crashed into a patrol vehicle. The collision inflicted minor injuries on one of the officers.
Investigators did not find Cole-Smith in Trice’s vehicle, however.
Sosebee told reporters Wednesday night that a federal search team discovered the toddler’s body near the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit, around 100 miles east of Lansing.
“This is not the outcome anyone had hoped for, and I promise law enforcement will see that the family gets the justice that they so deserve,” he said.
He asked the public to send any information, including digital evidence and witness statements, to the Lansing Police Department or the FBI tip line. Authorities had previously given the Lansing Police Department’s number at 517-483-4600. You can submit tips to the FBI at http://tips.fbi.gov or call 1-800-CALL-FBI.
Investigators had tracked Trice’s whereabouts through his phone data and looked for spots where he remained for more than a few minutes, according to sources cited by Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV. Trice, who is the ex-boyfriend of Wynter’s mother, is currently charged with assault with intent to murder, first-degree criminal sexual conduct, first-degree home invasion, unlawful imprisonment, and aggravated domestic violence.
Speaking before the tragic discovery, Wynter’s father, Almount “AJ” Smith, described his daughter as kind, trusting, and expressive, according to CBS Detroit.
“She gets along with everybody,” said Smith, who has been attending school in Tennessee and returned to Michigan because of the abduction. “Sadly, she trusts him, so she may not have even given it a second thought, but that’s just how much of a good kid she is, to not see no evil in nobody and for somebody to take advantage of that; it’s just not right.”
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