Family reacts to Rashad Trice pleading guilty in 2-year-old's kidnap death

The family of Wynter Cole Smith is relieved that her accused killer has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge. It brings them one step closer to the justice they are seeking. 

Rashad Trice, 27, is facing numerous charges for kidnapping and killing the 2-year-old girl in the summer of 2023. He is set to plead guilty to kidnapping resulting in death. He faces up to life in prison for the crime.

A plea hearing has been scheduled for 9 a.m. on Friday.

"Wynter was just so bright. I talked about how smart she was for such a young age," said the child's grandmother, Sharen Eddings.

The last eight months, since her granddaughter was killed, have been an emotional roller coaster, she said.

Authorities said Trice sexually assaulted and stabbed Wynter's mother before kidnapping the child on July 2, 2023 in Lansing. The kidnapping prompted an Amber Alert for Wynter.

Trice, who is not Wynter's father, was charged federally with kidnapping a minor and kidnapping resulting in death. After being charged federally, he could have faced the death penalty but the U.S. Attorney's Office did not seek this punishment. 

"We’re waiting to see if he can plead guilty in the second court," Eddings said. "He would’ve got the same charges if we would’ve went to court for a plea deal."

According to the court filings, Trice is also admitting to kidnapping Wynter after a dispute with her mother, to playing YouTube to keep the child calm in the car, and to strangling her with a pink cellphone cord in alley between Olympia and Englewood streets in Detroit. 


Wynter Smith kidnapping: Rashad Trice to plead guilty in 2-year-old's disappearance, death

Rashad Trice, the man facing numerous charges for the kidnapping and murder of Wynter Cole Smith last summer, will plead guilty to one of the charges.

Eddings said the guilty plea spares them from trial.

"This just eliminates the family having to be traumatized again," she said. "It’s no words I can say. It’s been terrible, it’s been bad, and I don’t want nobody to ever experience what we’re going through. I don’t think there’s a word that exists for this."

Trice was also charged with 20 crimes by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel after she consolidated the cases that spanned several jurisdictions. 

The remaining federal charge will be dropped, according to court documents.