On the evening of Wednesday, July 5, Lansing Police Chief Ellery Sosebee spoke at a news briefing and announced the "search for Wynter Cole Smith has come to an end." Sosebee said a search team comprising federal officials in Detroit discovered the girl’s body near the Coleman A. Young International Airport at approximately 6:50 p.m. WDIV-TV reports Wynter was found in an alley.
After finding her body, the investigation switched from a missing child to a homicide case.
The search for Wynter kicked off on the night of July 2 when the suspect, Rashad Trice, reportedly went to Wynter’s home and stabbed her mother. The mother called for help, then Trice allegedly kidnapped Wynter and stole the victim’s vehicle. The mother has reportedly since been discharged from the hospital for her stab wounds.
Police located Trice about 90 miles from Lansing in St. Clair Shores and took him in following a car crash, according to WDIV. Wynter, however, was not with him.
Trice was transported to a hospital for injuries, where he was charged with assault with intent to murder, two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, first-degree home invasion, unlawful imprisonment, aggravated domestic violence, unlawful driving away of an automobile, and felonious assault.
Following the news of Wynter’s death, Ingham County Prosecutor John Dewane wrote, "As this investigation transitions from a missing person to a homicide investigation, our office supports the efforts of our law enforcement partners at the state and federal level to hold those responsible for Wynter’s death accountable for their actions."
WDIV reports Wynter’s family released a statement that said in part, "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."
Wynter’s family also encouraged Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to "consider legislation that further ensures that multiple violent offenders remain in jail or prison, as they are tragically a threat to all of us."
The investigation into Wynter’s death remains ongoing.