Lansing remembers two-year-old Wynter Cole-Smith at State Capitol vigil
Mourners gathered at the State Capitol Saturday evening to grieve the death of two-year-old Wynter Cole-Smith. The Lansing toddler was found dead in 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.
"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 tried 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 led 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 happened in our communities."
26-year-old Rashad Trice is facing federal charges 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 was arrested 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.