Man charged with federal charges in death of 2-year-old Michigan girl

A Michigan man has been charged with federal charges in the kidnapping and death of 2-year-old Wynter Cole-Smith, prosecutors announced Friday.

The child’s body was found in a Detroit alley Wednesday night, three days after she went missing after her mother was assaulted by an ex-boyfriend, officials said.

That ex-boyfriend, Rashad Maleek Trice, is now charged with federal counts of child kidnapping and kidnapping causing death, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan said.

Wynter Cole-Smith.  (FBI)

Wynter Cole-Smith. (FBI)

“The allegations in this case are heartbreaking,” U.S. Attorney Mark Totten said in a statement.

Wynter’s death “appeared to be strangulation with a pink cellphone charging cord, which was recovered with the body,” an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit filed with the criminal complaint. A medical examiner’s report on the cause is pending.

The discovery of the child’s body around 6:50 p.m. Wednesday followed days of a search by local, state and federal law enforcement officials.

Wynter disappeared Sunday after a violent encounter at his mother’s home in Lansing around 11:20 p.m., officials say.

The mother had stabbed Trice in self-defense, Trice stabbed and sexually assaulted her, according to court documents. The mother fled and when police arrived the 2-year-old was missing, officials said.

Trice, 26, had also stolen her mother’s white 2013 Chevrolet Impala, according to the affidavit.

Trice was spotted and arrested Monday morning in St. Clair Shores, which is adjacent to Detroit and about 90 miles east of Lansing, but the child was not with him.

Wynter’s body was found in a Detroit alley around 6:50 p.m. Wednesday, officials said. Cellphone data led investigators to areas where Trice had been, the prosecutor’s office said.

A vigil was to be held in Detroit on Friday for the girl. A vigil was also held on Thursday, NBC affiliate WDIV of Detroit reported.

Trice was being kept in a hospital, the Lansing police chief said earlier this week.

He has already been charged with state counts including assault with intent to murder, home invasion, domestic violence and others for Sunday’s assault, police said.

It was unclear if Trice had an attorney who could speak on her behalf Friday night.

There is a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison for a kidnapping conviction resulting in death, and it carries the death penalty, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

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