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Cousin charged in girl's freezing death in Bemidji

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 chage. 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.


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