Grandfather of Wynter Smith 'still trying to process everything' after 2-year-old's death

Almont Smith came to an alleyway near Knodell and Erwin in Detroit for one reason: closure. 

The loss of his granddaughter Wynter Smith earlier this month has been a staggering one for him and his family. On a warm and peaceful Friday evening, Almont was found working on a brand-new memorial for the 2-year-old, breathing new life into the site where the toddler was found on July 5.

"I guess I'm still trying to process everything," he said.

"As you can see, we got somebody doing the post, building a canopy over her site and everything," Almont Smith added. "The stuffed animals that’s in there and it’s going to be nice. The community gave me the support and everything for me to do what I need to do."

The community in Detroit and around the state has been part of the outpouring of love and kindness for the family after the loss of Wynter Smith. She was found dead days after a man who used to date her mom had kidnapped her. 

Rashad Trice, 26, has since been arrested and charged in her death. On July 21, 16 days after the discovery of Wynter's body, 20 more felony counts were announced against him.

Among them, pre-meditated first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory life-sentence if convicted.

"I ain’t got no words for it right now," he said. "I just want everything to come to closure. That’s the only thing I can say, just want everything to come to closure."

The decision for the Michigan Attorney General to present the charges follows days of deliberations over how best to proceed with a criminal case that extends several jurisdictions. The state's top prosecutor said in a release alongside the charges that they were consolidated to reduce the trauma that family and friends may experience in multiple court venues.

Even as law enforcement seeks to ease the process, community members know coming to terms with the case will take time.

Read the full list of charges against Rashad Trice here

"This is a tragedy to our family and everything and we’re just trying to stick," said Shawn Jones, another relative. "Hold each other up and that’s the only way we can do that is for us to come together."

For Maurice Hardwick, who goes as Pastor Mo from Detroit, the appropriate kind of accountability must come with the process.

"Set a strong example - as strong example as possible," he said. "This young man, the way he did this young kid, we need to go to the fullest extent of the law."