© 2024 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Lansing remembers two-year-old Wynter Cole-Smith at State Capitol vigil

 memorial around a tree for Wyter Cole Smith with signs, balloons and candles
Michelle Jokisch Polo
Lansing residents gathered on Saturday, July 8, 2023 to remember two-year-old Wynter Cole Smith.

Lee este articulo en español aqui.

Mourners gathered at the State Capitol Saturday evening to grieve the death of two-year-old Wynter Cole-Smith. The Lansing toddler was found deadin Detroit last week after an extensive search that spanned several days.

Under the dusk-lit sky, close to 100 people came together on the Capitol lawn around a tree covered in purple balloons and posters of Smith. The group held moments of silence and sang songs in honor of the child.

Mackenzie Winston organized the vigil. She said she wanted the grieving family to know that their city stands with them.

  Mackenzie Winston and Shanell Henry stand together outside on the State Capitol lawn
Michelle Jokish Polo
Mackenzie Winston and Shanell Henry lead attendants in a moment of silence in honor of Wynter Cole Smith.

“I went two days searching for her, and I never met her a day in my life or the family. But it kills me to know that she’s not here anymore,” she told those present. “I tried and try and tried, but it wasn't the outcome that anyone wanted but, obviously, we now have a beautiful angel.”

Shanell Henry with One Love Global lead the group in prayer and song.

“We are here today simply to rally around with love and support for Wynter Cole’s family and to remember her,” she said. “It's unfortunate that we have to stand here based on what what happened in our communities.”

26-year-old Rashad Trice is facing federal changes of Kidnapping a Minor and Kidnapping Resulting in Death. Smith’s mother told the Lansing Police Department last Sunday that Trice assaulted her, stole her car and took her daughter.

On Monday, Trice wasarrested in St. Claire Shores but Smith was not found with him. Two days later, the child’s body was located in an alley near the Detroit City Airport.

According to the federal complaint, Smith appears to have been strangled to death with a phone charging cord.

Trice also faces charges in Ingham County for the alleged assault of Smith's mother and in Macomb County for evading police and resisting arrest.

Friends of Smith’s mother have started a GoFundMe to raise support for her recovery.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
Journalism at this station is made possible by donors who value local reporting. Donate today to keep stories like this one coming. It is thanks to your generosity that we can keep this content free and accessible for everyone. Thanks!