2-year-old girl kidnapped and strangled to death with cellphone charger by mom’s ex-boyfriend

LANSING, MI – A Michigan man has admitted to the abhorrent crimes of kidnapping and murdering a 2-year-old girl, officials from the State Attorney General’s office reported. In a distressing case that has shaken the statewide community, Rashad Maleek Trice, 27, entered a guilty plea to charges of first-degree murder and first-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection to the death of toddler Wynter Cole-Smith and the assault on her mother.

Trice is set to receive a life sentence without the possibility of parole, marking the severity of the offense. His sentencing is scheduled for August 16 in the 30th Judicial Circuit Court of Ingham County, as detailed by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

The Attorney General highlighted the irrevocable impact of Trice’s violent actions, saying, “The scars left by Mr. Trice’s horrific and brutal crime spree will forever etch themselves on the lives he shattered.” Nessel added that while the family could never fully recover from their loss, the guilty plea might serve as a step toward their healing process.

Handling the case at a state level allowed for cohesion in prosecution efforts and aimed to protect surviving victims from the further trauma a full trial could inflict. This approach streamlines the legal process given that Trice’s criminal activities spread across the state, prompting state-level rather than county-level jurisdiction.

The case gained widespread attention following an Amber Alert issued after the tragic events unfolded. Details emerged that Trice had attacked his ex-girlfriend, leading to her stabbing him in self-defense. Afterward, Trice retaliated by stabbing and sexually assaulting her. The mother escaped, but in the chaos, her children were left behind. While her 1-year-old son was found in the apartment, her daughter, Wynter, was missing.

As police efforts intensified, including a vehicular pursuit in St. Clair Shores, significant evidence of the crime was uncovered in a stolen car belonging to the ex-girlfriend’s mother. Despite the stark evidence found, the whereabouts of young Wynter were unknown until her body was tragically discovered between Olympia Street and Edgewood Avenue in a nearby alley following a meticulous search by law enforcement.

In a grim turn, the cause of Wynter’s death was determined to be strangulation with a pink cellphone charging cord, which was recovered at the scene and matched parts found in the impounded vehicle. Trice’s acknowledgment of his monstrous actions during questioning has colored the case with an even darker shade.

This guilty plea follows a previous admission of guilt on related federal charges in March, anticipating another sentencing hearing on July 19 for the federal offenses.