Cousin Charged in Girl's Freezing Death in Bemidji

Updated: 03/17/2014 3:26 PM
Created: 03/17/2014 2:52 PM

BEMIDJI, Minn. (AP) - A 22-year-old Bemidji woman is charged with manslaughter in the freezing death of her 6-year-old cousin last month.
Rachel Stacey Downer appeared in Beltrami County court Monday on a second-degree manslaughter charge. Downer was released on $100,000 bond.
Downer's cousin, Mercedes Mayfield, was found on the front step of a Bemidji apartment building early on Feb. 27. Mercedes' mother reported her daughter was frozen and unresponsive.
Downer was supposed to take her cousin to her apartment to babysit her that night, but changed her mind and didn't tell Mercedes' mother. Mercedes helped Downer carry her things to her car. Downer said she watched the girl enter the building, then got in her car and left.

The investigation showed the apartment building was controlled by a security system and each residence had a call button by the outside door.

The Star Tribune ( reports Downer is due back in court March 24.

Information from: Star Tribune,

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3/17/2014 2:45:48 PM (GMT -5:00)