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Missing 2-year-old girl is found dead in Detroit, after her disappearance sparked massive search

 FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Devin Kowalski holds a press conference on July 5, 2023.
Detroit Police Department
FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Devin Kowalski confirmed the death of Wynter Cole Smith, age 2, at a press conference on July 5.

A missing 2-year-old girl was found dead in Detroit on Wednesday, authorities announced, three days after her disappearance sparked a massive search.

Wynter Cole Smith's body was discovered in the evening near a municipal airport that is about 6 miles northeast of downtown Detroit, Chief Ellery Sosebee of the Lansing Police Department reported.

“I am deeply saddened to report that the search for Wynter Cole Smith has come to an end. ... This investigation has moved from a missing child case to a homicide investigation,” Sosebee added.

Sosebee declined to comment further on details of the ongoing investigation but promised the girl's family will get justice.

“This is not the outcome anyone had hoped for,” the chief said.

A man identified as Rashad Trice is accused of stabbing the girl's 22-year-old mother, his ex-girlfriend, at her Lansing home and stealing her car. Police said he also took the toddler with him on Sunday, but she wasn't in the vehicle when Trice was arrested Monday in suburban Detroit. It was not immediately known if Trice was the toddler's father.

Trice, 26, was denied bond during a court hearing in Ingham County. It wasn't immediately known if he had a lawyer who could comment on the charges he faces, which include attempted murder and other offenses.

Earlier Wednesday, searchers fanned out near a highway between Lansing and Detroit to look for the girl.

Sosebee said divers, dogs, drones and helicopters were involved in the search.

The FBI had posted a $25,000 reward for information that solves Wynter's disappearance.

The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.
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