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As the year winds down, we’re taking a look back at some of the biggest stories in 2023.
Here are some of the Michigan stories that FOX 2 Detroit readers cared about most this year:
Abandoned dog seen wandering Detroit streets with stuffed toy rescued
A dog captured attention and broke hearts when she was spotted wandering Detroit with a stuffed toy earlier this year.
“Everybody was posting pictures in Detroit of who they were calling Nicholas, now Nikki because it’s a female, and of course started tagging Heather, South Lyon Murphy – can you help trap this dog?” said Katrina Weaver, the owner of It Is Pawzable Dog Training.
With teamwork, they were able to capture the German shepherd. Rescuers learned that Nikki’s owner had recently died, leaving her to wander the streets alone with her favorite toy.
Nikki was heartworm positive, so she received treatment and went to a foster home.
Wynter Smith disappearance and death investigation
An Amber Alert over the summer ended murder charges against a man after the body of 2-year-old Wynter Cole-Smith was found in Detroit.
Rashad Trice is accused of sexually assaulting and stabbing his ex-girlfriend before kidnapping her daughter Wynter on July 2. He was arrested July 3 after a chase in St. Clair Shores. When he was caught, Wynter was not with him, prompting the Amber Alert.
Wynter’s body was found July 5 in a Detroit alley after phone location data led investigators to that area.
Trice is now facing numerous charges in three counties – Ingham, Wayne, and Macomb, along with federal charges.
He’s due in court early next year.
Jet crashes at Thunder Over Michigan Airshow
A jet performing at the annual Thunder Over Michigan Airshow crashed over the summer and burst into flames outside a Belleville apartment.
According to the crash report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the fighter jet took off from Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti around 3:15 p.m. Aug. 13. The pilot told investigators that the plane made a “banana pass” (a low-level knife-edge pass) from the runway it departed before he banked the plane.
This is when the pilot noticed the engine afterburner did not ignite, and speed was decreasing. The pilot said he used swing wings to increase the plane’s lift as he troubleshooted the issue.
As he worked to troubleshoot, the rear passenger said they needed to eject from the plane. However, the pilot did not want to yet. Both seats then ejected before the plane crashed at Waverly on the Lake apartments.
Warren police rescue boy who was electrocuted
A story from last year drew attention this year when video of a heroic rescue was released.
Warren Police Corp. Det. Daniel Rose and Officer David Chapman were honored this year with saving an 8-year-old boy who had been electrocuted in the summer of 2022.
When Rose and Chapman arrived at the scene for a different incident, they found the boy clinging to a downed wire.]
“When I picked him up first and brought him over he was shaking, you could feel him shaking,” Chapman said. “We don’t know what we’re going into, we just know that we have to do something.”
They rushed the child to a hospital in the back of a squad car, saving his life.
Michigan State University shooter found dead
On Feb. 13, a man later identified as Anthony McRae, opened fire on Michigan State University’s campus.
McRae killed three students – Arielle Anderson, Brian Fraser, and Alexandria Verner – and injured five others.
It prompted an hours-long manhunt that ended in Lansing when McRae shot himself when confronted by police.
Authorities have said they don’t know the motive for the shooting. A report released a few months after the shooting did say that McRae told a man he was beaten up by students three weeks before the campus attack. It’s not clear if they were MSU students.
The man told police that McRae was attacked in downtown East Lansing where he would collect cans for cash. It isn’t clear if that alleged attack had any correlation to the shooting.
The shooting led to calls for change at the university, and safety measures have been stepped up since it happened. McRae, who was not a student and had no connection to the school, was able to walk into two buildings.
According to the school, the university has improved the Family Assistance Center processes, expanded and centralized security cameras on campus, implemented a centralized security operations center, upgraded electronic building access, and updated door locks on campus.