Family of Wynter Cole-Smith gather in her memory on anniversary of her death

Almount Smith is memorializing his granddaughter. 

"Miss you forever, love you always. We will never forget you," he said July 5, during a memorial on the anniversary of Wynter Smith, who was just 2-years-old when she was killed. 

"We all loved Wynter," Almount said. "Even the ones who never got the chance to meet her, I can tell that she reached y’all hearts."

Wynter Cole-Smith was abducted from her mother's home in Lansing, by Rashad Trice, her mother's ex-boyfriend on July 2, 2023. An Ambert Alert was issued, and she was found three days later.

Trice recently plead guilty to strangling the girl and leaving her body in an alley in Detroit. 

Rashad Maleek Trice, 27, pleaded guilty in Ingham County circuit court to one count each of first-degree murder and first-degree criminal sexual conduct in the death of the 2-year-old and the assault of her mother.

"I feel there’s no closure - I feel like justice hasn’t been served," her grandfather said.

 First-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.  After being charged federally, he could have faced the death penalty but the U.S. Attorney's Office did not seek this punishment.

"The scars left by Mr. Trice’s horrific and brutal crime spree will forever etch themselves on the lives he shattered," said Attorney General Dana Nessel. "While nothing can ever fully heal the grief of Wynter’s family and loved ones, I hope today’s plea can be a step toward healing."

Authorities say Trice sexually assaulted and stabbed a woman before kidnapping her 2-year-old daughter, later identified as Wynter Cole-Smith, on July 2, 2023 in Lansing. 

More coverage:

Wynter Cole-Smith kidnapping suspect Rashad Trice bound over for trial

Feds: No death penalty for suspect in Wynter Smith Amber Alert murder

Trice was arrested in St. Clair Shores after a police chase, and Wynter's body was found in Detroit following a three-day search. 

Trice will be sentenced on Aug. 16.