Charges Expected Monday Against Cousin of Girl who Froze to Death in Bemidji

Updated: 03/15/2014 7:23 AM
Created: 03/14/2014 5:46 PM
By: Cassie Hart

An arrest has been made in connection to the death of a 6-year-old girl who died from exposure to the cold in Bemidji last month.

According to the Bemidji Police Department, the cousin of 6-year-old Mercedes Mayfield was arrested Friday. Rachel Downer, 22, of Bemidji, was booked on suspicion for 2nd degree manslaughter and felony neglect of a child.

No further details have been released in the arrest of Downer.

Police say they’ve been “working tirelessly” to gather details and the timeline of the girl’s death. No further details were released by police in Mayfield's death.

On the morning of Thursday Feb. 27th, police received two calls, one from a neighbor and one from the child's mother, for a medical emergency.

Officers and emergency medical personnel responded to the 900 block of Carter Circle Southeast around 6:30 a.m. and were directed to Mayfield, who was inside the front entrance to the apartment building. She was found unconscious wearing a coat, hat, gloves and boots.

Mayfield had signs of being exposed to the frigid elements and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner's office confirmed Mayfield died from hypothermia after being "exposed to the frigid elements".

Temperatures in the Bemidji area that morning were 27 degrees below zero with a wind chill of 40 below zero.

The Bemidji Pioneer reports Downer is expected to be charged Monday in the case.

Booking photo of Rachel Downer
Photo: Bemidji Police Deparment
Photo: Rachel Downer/ Facebook page

Minneapolis/St. Paul

Broken Clouds
27° | 22°
  • Feels like: 13° F
  • Wind: S 8mph
  • Humidity: 75%
  • Mon Mostly cloudy
    37° | 28°
  • Tue A few clouds
    36° | 26°
  • Wed Considerable cloudiness
    42° | 28°
  • Thu Morning clouds followed by afternoon sun
    30° | 15°