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Police Arrest Cousin In Exposure Death Of Bemidji Child - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Police Arrest Cousin In Exposure Death Of Bemidji Child

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  Bemidji Police have arrested 22-year old Rachel Downer of Bemidji in connection with the cold exposure death of 6-year old Mercedes Mayfield. Downer is the girl's cousin. She's been charged with 2nd degree Manslaughter and felony Neglect of a child.

  On February 27th, 2014, at 6:23 a.m. the Bemidji Police Department, along with members of Bemidji Ambulance, Bemidji Fire and the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office, responded to a weather related medical call at  924 Carter Circle SE, Bemidji, MN. Upon arrival officers discovered 6-year old Mercedes Mayfield, who was unresponsive. She had signs of being exposed to the frigid elements and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

  Details of the charges against Rachel Downer aren't available yet.

Original Story:

The provisional medical examiners report indicates the cause of death for a six-year-old Bemidji girl found outside early Thursday morning. The medical examiner says she died of hypothermia due to exposure to hypothermic conditions. 

 Flowers, candles and stuffed animals now sit on the steps where the victim may have frozen to death. She lived here with her mother and two younger siblings.

Capt.. James Marcotte, Bemidji Police: "Trying to build a timeline. If anyone does have any information…"

  We don't have details on how the victim may have been locked outside the door of her building. But, the placement of the buzzer system may provide an answer.

  It's interesting to note, the buzzer to ring into apartment number six, the victim's apartment is about 5-feet high. It would seem questionable whether that 1st-grader, the victim, could even reach this buzzer.

  However, it appears many questions in this case will remain unanswered for a few days.  In a phone interview today, Beltrami County Attorney Tim Favor told me… they'll likely review all the information in the case with police, early next week.

  Favor says they don't pre-propose any possibilities. They'll just gather the facts and see where they lead.

  Authorities are also waiting for autopsy results in the case. If you have any information about what happened, you're asked to call Bemidji Police at:  218-=333-9111.

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