A Michigan man accused of kidnapping and killing his ex-girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter could spend the rest of his life in prison or receive the death penalty if he’s convicted of the alleged crimes, authorities announced on Friday.
According to ABC News, the federal charges brought against 26-year-old Rashad Trice in connection with the violent July 2 altercation, include kidnapping a minor and kidnapping resulting in death. He also faces state charges.
Authorities said Trice got into a physical altercation with his ex-girlfriend over money issues at her Lansing apartment on the night of the incident. “In self-defense, the [ex-girlfriend] stabbed Trice,” the complaint stated. “Trice then stabbed the complainant multiple times and sexually assaulted her. The complainant then left the residence.”
The ex-couple’s 1-year-old daughter, as well as the suspect’s ex-girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter, Wynter Cole-Smith, were in the apartment at the time of the incident. Authorities said Trice’s ex-girlfriend ultimately fled to another apartment for safety and notified the Lansing Police Department about the attack.
Though officers found the 1-year-old after making their way to the apartment, Trice and Wynter were not present, the complaint stated, adding that the suspect also drove away with his ex-girlfriend’s Chevrolet Impala.
Authorities disclosed that the police tried to pull the stolen Chevrolet Impala after spotting the vehicle on July 3, but Trice tried to flee before crashing the car. He was later arrested after he tried to take an officer’s weapon, the complaint stated. Wynter was, however, not in the car when the suspect was arrested.
Upon searching the car, the FBI found notable quantities of blood, as well as a pink cellphone charging cord, the complaint stated, per ABC News. Authorities subsequently initiated searches in certain areas for the 2-year-old; using cell site information to determine the paths that Trice’s phone had taken, the complaint stated. The deceased minor’s body was later found in Detroit on July 5 – authorities say she likely died by strangulation.
“The allegations in this case are heart-wrenching,” said U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, Mark Totten, in a statement. “My thoughts are very much with Wynter’s family, as we were all praying for her safe return home.”
Before the deceased minor’s body was found, authorities had brought several charges against Trice over the July 2 “brutal physical and sexual assault.” The Ingham County prosecutor said the charges for that incident included assault with intent to murder, criminal sexual conduct, home invasion, and unlawful imprisonment. The suspect was also charged as a violent habitual fourth offender, ABC News reported.
Wynter’s family, friends, and other residents gathered on Friday for a vigil for the deceased minor, WXYZ reported. “She was my burst of joy. She really brought light to our lives,” Wynter’s grandmother, Sharen Eddings, said at the event. “We are really grateful that we got a chance to know her and she will always be remembered.”
Trice is currently being held without bond. “If convicted of the Kidnapping Resulting in Death charge, the statutory mandatory minimum is life in prison. This offense is also death penalty eligible.” authorities said in the statement. “If convicted of Kidnapping a Minor, the statutory mandatory minimum is 20 years in prison with a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.”