GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten on Friday announced that Rashad Maleek Trice, 26, has been charged by criminal complaint with Kidnapping a Minor and Kidnapping Resulting in Death. These allegations relate to the kidnapping and death of 2-year-old Wynter Cole-Smith. If convicted of the Kidnapping Resulting in Death charge, the statutory mandatory minimum is life in prison. This offense is also death penalty eligible. If convicted of Kidnapping a Minor, the statutory mandatory minimum is 20 years in prison with a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.
“The allegations in this case are heart-wrenching,” said U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten. “My thoughts are very much with Wynter’s family, as we were all praying for her safe return home. I would like to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Lansing Police Department, Michigan State Police, and the countless law enforcement agencies who worked relentlessly to find Wynter. I would also like to thank U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison of the Eastern District of Michigan and her office for all their hard work in this investigation. The media and the public played a critical role in sharing accurate information and submitting tips as well. I commend everyone in law enforcement and the community for working together to pursue justice in this case.”
As alleged in the attached complaint, on July 2, 2023, a woman reported to the Lansing Police Department that she had been attacked by Trice and ultimately fled her apartment to escape him. When police responded to her apartment, Trice and the woman’s daughter, Cole-Smith, were no longer present. A white Chevrolet Impala had also allegedly been stolen. On July 3, police attempted to stop the white Chevrolet Impala in St. Clair Shores and the driver attempted to flee. Police apprehended the driver, Trice, but Cole-Smith was not in the car. Cell site information showed the approximate path Trice’s phone had recently taken, which prompted law enforcement to start conducting searches for Cole-Smith in specific areas. On July 5, 2023, law enforcement found Cole-Smith’s body in Detroit.
“Please continue to keep Wynter Cole-Smith’s family in your thoughts in the days and weeks to come,” said Devin Kowalski, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “I am proud of our brave FBI agents, analysts, and professional staff who answered the call to render aid to Wynter and her family. I would like to extend appreciation to them, along with Lansing Police Department Chief Ellery Sosebee and his entire department, and our vast network of law enforcement partners across the state and country who have been working relentlessly around-the-clock over the past week.”
“It is so difficult to imagine the final moments of little Wynter’s life,” stated U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Dawn N. Ison. “I commend Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Rawsthorne of my office, FBI, Detroit Police, and all the other law enforcement partners who worked tirelessly for days to find Wynter in Detroit and return her home. My heart breaks for her family, and all of us mourn with them.”
“Our top priority is to get justice for Wynter and her family,” said Lansing Police Department Chief Ellery Sosebee. “The men and women of the Lansing Police Department applaud U.S. Attorneys Mark Totten and Dawn Ison, their teams, the FBI, and all of our law enforcement partners for their efforts to pursue justice in this case.”
This case was investigated by the FBI and Lansing Police Department, along with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Secret Service, Federal Air Marshal Service, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, Michigan State Police, Michigan State University Department of Police and Public Safety, Michigan Department of Corrections, Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office, Eaton County Sheriff’s Office, Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, Detroit Police Department, Detroit Public Schools Community District Department of Public Safety, Eastpointe Police Department, St. Clair Shores Police Department, Bloomfield Hills Police Department, Dearborn Police Department, Sterling Heights Police Department, West Bloomfield Police Department, Bloomfield Police Department, Southfield Police Department, Northville Township Police Department, and Clinton Township Police Department.
The charges in a complaint are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.